ZOOLOGIST and safari guide Ryan Eddowes, who was born with clubfoot, has raised £1,500 for a charity helping those with lower limb conditions after walking the 95-mile length of the Jurassic Coast in just ten days.
The money has been donated to Steps Worldwide, the leading charity working for all those whose lives are affected by childhood lower limb conditions and the health professionals who treat them.
Clubfoot, which affects one to two people per 1,000 births, is a painful condition that affects the shape of the feet, tendons and muscles. Also known as Talipes, the condition is more common in boys than girls.
After several operations to attempt to correct the condition, Ryan was told by experts that he would be in a wheelchair by the age of 30.
Undeterred by the prognosis, Ryan enrolled on an animal management course at Rodbaston College, Staffordshire, and then completed a Zoology degree at Bangor University. He now works as a VIP guide at West Midland Safari Park.
Ryan, 25, said: “The challenge of walking the full length of the Jurassic Coast was painful, emotional, physically and mentally demanding, but it was worth it to witness the beauty of the coast and to be able to raise awareness of hidden disabilities, in particular, clubfoot which was something that made me immensely proud.
“We met some amazing people during the journey and the support and the hospitality we received from the places we stopped was incredible. We had our bags transferred from venue to venue by the locals of each town, which helped take the pressure off us while we walked, we had food made for us, transport to places when we required it and people were quick to ask how they could support me on the journey.
“I hope the money raised from this walk will aid in future research and awareness to gain more understanding of the root cause of clubfoot, and how adults living with the condition can gain more information, understanding and access to care.
“The condition is very common, but so overlooked, so being able to support Steps Charity Worldwide and help aid in making hidden disabilities physically seen is something I am so honoured to be a part of.”
The charity’s CEO Loredana Guetg-Wyatt, who joined Ryan for the last three days of the walk, said: “The three days I spent with Ryan walking the Jurassic Coast can only be described as inspiring. I admired his determination to complete the challenge even when his feet were in agony and every step he took was extremely painful.
“He never stopped smiling and talking to strangers along the journey about his condition and raising awareness of clubfoot. He has already inspired many adults with clubfoot to share their experiences and ask for help and we can only hope that thanks to his efforts we will be able to reach thousands more.”
A spokesperson for the Jurassic Coast Trust, which celebrates its 20th anniversary as a World Heritage Site this year, added: “We were delighted to support Ryan’s fantastic challenge, which also showcased the areas of the coast that are the most accessible.”
You can still donate to Ryan online at https://sponsorme.charitiestrust.org/event/4ad6a932-db07-45d0-9d6c-8882dcc02268