Gary Spendlove, the managing director of British nightwear brand Slenderella, is planning a 100 mile walk around Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire at the end of January to raise awareness of carrying an organ donor card.
Spendlove, who is also the Mayor of Belper, will be doing the seven-day trek with World Transplant Games athlete, Simon Elmore.
He commented: “There are 6,500 people on the transplant list in the UK, many in the local area. Around 1,000 people every year die waiting for a transplant. Meeting Simon was an inspiration, as he has shown what can be achieved with the gift of a kidney, even though he was terrible ill before.”
Elmore, 41, suffered kidney failure eight years ago and he was struck down by serious health problems linked to it. In January last year after years of dialysis, Elmore received his life-saving kidney transplant.
A keen sportsman, Elmore was driven by the desire to show how transformative a transplant can be. Within days of his surgery he was walking three and a half miles round the hospital, and within months he was competing in the British Transplant Games in Gateshead, winning several silver and bronze medals in a range of events. He has since gone on to compete in the European and World Games.
Elmore said: “The Games are all about organ donation and without the special people who donate many of us would not be here at all.”
Spendlove and Elmore will be walking from one local hospital to another on a hilly and tough route, joined by as many people who are able to be there for all or part of the week. The 100 miles takes in Belper, Matlock Bath, Chesterfield, Mansfield, Ilkeston and Derby before ending back in Belper on 4 February.
The pair are planning to give a series of talks to build awareness about organ donation to different groups on the way, as well as fund-raising for a local renal support group VIRS, Anthony Nolan Trust, British Kidney Patient Association and the Nottingham Transplant Team. Their route and updates on progress will be on social media and a dedicated website throughout the walk.
Spendlove concluded: “Simon and I would be delighted to have any help with sponsorship, just joining for a mile or two on the Walk for Life.”