TWO Glenrothes men undertook a gruelling trek to raise cash for charity, reports MIKE DELANEY.
Tom Bryce and Mark Cameron walked the West Highland Way to provide money for Breathe Easy Kirkcaldy, a local support group of the British Lung Foundation.
The pair completed the 97 mile challenge in four days, and are hoping to make a sizeable donation once they have totalled their sponsorship money.
Both men have a history of respiratory illness in their families.
Tom lost both his parents to lung cancer and has a rare condition, cough symptomy, which means he sometimes passes out after coughing.
After being diagnosed, he was no longer allowed to drive and, as a result, became a keen walker, to the extent that he ‘commutes’ 11 miles to work on foot - but still has enough energy to take the dog for a walk afterwards.
“I probably walk around 60 miles a week. It’s great, I love it,” said Tom.
“I’ve lost two stone, three pounds since I started walking and I just feel so much better.
“The best part has to be the views.
“We really do live in a beautiful country.
“I particularly love our local hills.
“Walking the West Highland Way was tougher than I thought, but we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
“I hadn’t expected the terrain to be so bad.
“It’s difficult walking up a dry river bed, which we had to do in some parts, but nobody said it would be easy.
“There’s also a section called the ‘Devil’s Staircase’ and as the name suggests, that was pretty fierce too!
“Having said all that, we did it and I’m really happy we managed to raise funds for such a good cause.”
Mark added: “I’m thrilled to have completed the West Highland Way for Breathe Easy.
“The group does so much for those in the community that I’m delighted if we have helped in some small way.
“The walk was hard going in places, but I really enjoyed it.
“It’s definitely something I’d like to do again.
“I’m pleased to say all the training paid off.”
Breathe Easy chairwoman, Agnes Whyte, said: “We’re so grateful to Tom and Mark for going to such lengths to support us.
“The group means so much to all of its members.
“It’s a place where people understand what the other members are going through.
“We meet once a month, which usually involves a guest speaker.
“We also fundraise, campaign for respiratory health and plan outings.
“The money raised by Tom and Mark will help us continue the work that so many of us reply on.
“If anyone would like to add to Tom and Mark’s total, please e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org. ”
British Lung Foundation Scotland chief, Dr James Cant, said: “Congratulations to Tom and Mark for completing the West Highland Way and our sincere thanks to them for choosing to support Breathe Easy Kirkcaldy.
“Breathe Easy Groups are so valuable to the British Lung Foundation.
“They provide real, unfailing support to those in the community and that’s so important.
“It’s people like Tom and Mark who invest so much of their time and effort into supporting us, that really enable this help to continue.
“They are aware of the valuable work in the community undertaken by local branch of the British Lung Foundation.
“The British Lung Foundation is the only United Kingdom charity to represent all lung conditions.