AN INTREPID adventurer from Devon is stepping out to walk the length of the country in memory of a friend who died from meningitis and to raise funds for the charity fighting back against the disease.
Frank Synek, 30, from South Molton, is taking on the 947 mile trek from John O’Groats to Land’s End, starting on 7 May, in aid of Meningitis Now.
Frank’s aim is to complete the walk in four weeks and it will be a curtain-raiser for his main goal in September this year when he plans to climb Everest (Base Camp). He hopes his efforts will raise £3,900 towards the charity’s lifesaving and life-changing work with victims of the devastating disease and their families.
Frank lost his good friend Tom Allen to meningitis in 2012, at the age of just 24.
“Tom was always a happy, fun and much loved friend who was taken from us far too young,” Frank said. “He was working a shift one night in the pub and decided to go home as he had a headache. Sadly he never woke again.
“Meningitis was the cause of his tragic passing and in this case there were no visible signs of the illness. It was a terrible shock to everyone.”
As if Frank’s challenge is not daunting enough the experienced charity fundraiser is planning to make it even harder by travelling alone and relying on the kindness of strangers.
“I will be travelling alone with only a rucksack and tent,” he said. “The challenge will be physically and mentally testing as it is but I plan on making it even tougher by not taking any money with me.
“This will mean I will have to rely on the kindness of the people I meet on the way and accept only what is donated to me and what I can forage on my trip, including food and water.
“I know my limits will be tested as I will be under-prepared and under-trained but I plan to try my very best. It’s important to me to carry out something very testing and challenging in Tom’s memory.
“I also feel that by taking on this challenge, it will define me better as a person. My hope is that with every challenge I take on, I will improve myself step by step and try to be the best person I can be. I will then be in a better position to help others more and more from horrible circumstances like what happened to Tom.”
Leah Wynn, Community Fundraiser Officer for Meningitis Now, said: “What an amazing challenge Frank has set himself and we wish him well on his walk – please support him if you can and help him on his way.
“Every penny he raises will help us to fight the disease on all fronts, from funding pioneering preventative research, raising awareness and supporting people affected by this devastating disease.
“Support like this makes a real difference to those who are at risk from meningitis and those whose lives have already been changed forever because of it.”
Meningitis Now is working towards a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need.
It does this by funding research into vaccines and prevention, raising awareness so people know what to look for and what action to take if they suspect meningitis and rebuilding futures by providing dedicated support to people living with the impact of the disease.
To support Frank’s efforts visit his sponsorship page at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/FrantisekSynek You can follow his progress on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CharitywalkfundraiserJohnOGroatstoLandsEnd/
For more information on the work of Meningitis Now visit: www.meningitisnow.orgFollow