Gary raises £8,500 with 200km trek for MND

Gary raises £8,500 with 200km trek for MND

31 March 2021

A DOWNPATRICK man has walked over 200 kilometres in the last six weeks to raise money for Motor Neurone Disease.

Gary Rowland (48) was diagnosed with the disease in February last year and has since raised a whopping £8,500.

“My initial goal was to walk 100k in six weeks. I walked that within the first three weeks so I just decided to keep going.

“I have no planned map of were I am going, but usually I would walk around the local GAA club with my mates, Patrick Rice, Shane Brady and Terry Curran. We would regularly clock up about 5k a day,” said Gary.

Motor neurone disease (MND) is a condition that affects the brain and nerves. It is currently an incurable disease which can significantly shorten a person’s life. 

However, there are treatments available which can help those suffering on a daily basis.

Gary has expressed his desire to raise as much money as possible for the NI branch of Motor Neurone Disease Association, despite the difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“I’ve wanted to raise money sooner, but ran into issues with the pandemic,” he explained. “I thought I should grab the bull by the horns whilst my legs are still strong so I got out there and started walking.

“MND is something which is so underfunded in this country and not spoken about enough. I cannot thank people enough for their generosity, especially in this current climate. I am truly blown away.

“I have to give a special mention to Irish jockeys Paul Burns, Gavin Sheehan and Caoilin Quinn who walked over 100k whilst in England as they couldn’t be here with me. What they did was incredible.”

Gary, who worked as a bricklayer, has drawn support from an array of local businesses and sports clubs which have donated to the cause.

“The support from local businesses has been overwhelming. Bobby Shaw from Brand-all Embroidery made me a billboard which displays in the town. All he asked in return was for a minimum donation to the cause from other local business to appear on it with me.”

Gary’s inspirational fundraiser finishes this Saturday, with his partner, Ciara Cromie, and daughter, Alex, set to walk the last mile alongside him.