When Tammy Kennedy found out her mother had scleroderma, or “the disease that turns you to stone”, she realised she needed to find a way to fight the disease and support her family through one of its hardest times.
Two years later, Tammy’s “500,000 steps for scleroderma” event is on its way to Forster in the ongoing battle to raise awareness and funds to fight the disease.
“We will be meeting up with locals on June 19 at the Lake and Ocean Hotel,” Tammy said.
“Last year we put our walking shoes on and completed a 475 km trek, raising $30,000 for research.
“This year we are doing it again and this time we will be raising the bar and walking over 520km from Port Macquarie to Campbelltown. We will be walking a marathon a day for 14 days straight!”
The walk is in aid of increasing awareness and to raise funds for Scleroderma Australia for their support services and research efforts to find a cure.
“It’s going to hurt, but it’s nothing compared to what my mum has to go through each day as her body slowly turns to stone,” Tammy explained.
Although approximately 5000 Australians have been diagnosed with scleroderma, not much is known about this disease.
“It has been described as feeling like you are a vacuum sealed bag where your skin gets hard, it restricts the movement and squeezes your body together and your body feels like it's suffocating," Tammy added.
“Already, through our efforts, we have been lucky enough to have reached out to a number of people that suffer with this disease and we feel our walk can help make a difference to their lives.”
For more information about Tammy’s family mission, or to make a donation, see the Facebook page, “500,000 Steps for Scleroderma”.