David Galloway battled some unpleasant weather while walking from Springhill to Truro and he added an extra challenge by doing it blindfolded.
Galloway decided to do the walk to raise money and awareness for Georgia Langille, a 15-month-old Truro girl who was born blind and deaf and diagnosed with a rare congenital disorder called glycosolation type 1-a. The condition interferes with growth and the functioning of organs and tissues.
“I went to high school with Georgia’s mum, Kristen,” said Galloway. “When I saw the information about Georgia on Facebook I wanted to step up and make a difference.
“I’m acting president of the Springhill Lions Club and awareness around blindness is a focus of the Lions.”
He decided to wear goggles with paper taped across the front to drastically reduce his vision but allow himself to quickly have full vision back if there was an emergency.
Jeanie Maie Smith, another member of the Springhill Lions Club, acted as his guide for the walk. Although Galloway was a track athlete in school (He holds the triple jump record at the CEC.) Smith said taking part in something like a long walk is new to her.
The pair left Springhill on April 21, with Galloway timing his walk so that he would arrive in Truro during a Lions convention. He addressed those at the convention and raised $7,800 in donations from the clubs.
Kristen and Fraser Langille’s 12-year-old daughter, Abbie, was born deaf and some of Georgia’s health issues were evident soon after birth.
“Every parent expects their baby to be somewhat healthy,” said Fraser. “Between the ages of three and four months we began noticing more issues with Georgia.”
Kristen said that they had not been able to help much with planning for the walk because Georgia had pneumonia and was in hospital for a while.
“We did get to the Lions meeting and it was amazing,” she said. “There was one lady there who is a hairdresser and saved her tips so that she could donate the money. She had over $500.
“We’re very happy with the support. It means more than anything to know people care.”
Fraser said that meeting other families facing similar situations has helped them feel less alone.
There will be many expenses for the family. A specialized wheelchair and vehicle will be needed. They are currently paying $500 per month for special food for Georgia, and that cost will increase as she grows.
At the end of the day the donations were counted and it was revealed that the total amount raised was $14,152.70.
“This walk will be an annual event,” said Galloway. “We walked approximately 23 kilometres a day in all weather; freezing rain, snow, wind and sun. Whenever we had to climb a mountain it seemed the wind was in our face. It feels good to have done this to help though.”
Updates on Georgia can be found on the Sweet Baby Georgia Langille Facebook group and photos and posts from Galloway’s walk can be found on the Opening Eyes for Baby Georgia Facebook page.