can't halt Burnham-On-Sea postman on 500-mile walk for charity
brave Burnham-On-Sea Royal Mail postman has walked more than 120
miles during an emotional fundraising walk from Edinburgh to London
- despite suffering an ankle injury.
Penfold started his 500-mile trek last week, as we first reported
here, which is raising money for the Lily Foundation, a charity
extra special to him because his grandson, 18-month-old Frankie,
suffers from life-limiting Mitochondrial Disease, which affects
the central nervous system and has no known cure.
has raised over £15,200 so far and all the funds he collects,
up to a maximum of £20,000, will also be matched by Royal
Mail as part of the group's celebration of 500 years of the postal
Speaking to Burnham-On-Sea.com last night (Wednesday) as he reached
the quarter stage of his incredible walk, he said: "The first
few days have gone really well, I have had so much incredible
support from so many people - both back in Burnham-On-Sea and
have unfortunately picked up an ankle injury this week. I am experiencing
some pain on the front of my foot and up the shin, but I won't
let it stop me."
last few days I have walked up to 26 miles a day, meaning I've
done 123 miles in total so far. I'm keen to walk an average of
20 miles a day to keep on schedule."
only a week into it, but the support has been amazing, with many
messages from people backing me. I know many people back in Burnham
know about Frankie already and know me - but I'm keen to raise
awareness about Mitochondrial Disease. I want as many people to
be aware about it as possible so the help available to sufferers
increases and hopefully a cure can be found in the future."
added: "Raising funds for the charity from my walk is important,
but for me the bigger aim is raising awareness about Mitochondrial
Disease and to spread the word and knowledge. I hope to feel exhausted
at the end of the walk from talking about it so much."
support has just been incredible. Yesterday I got chatting to
a builder over breakfast and explained what I am doing. When he
left, the wait came over to me and said the man had left a £20
donation even though he'd never met me before - amazing."
started his incredible walk from a postal delivery office in Edinburgh,
and has been cheered on by colleagues and family, below, as he
attempts to walk the former London to Edinburgh postal route,
one of the oldest postal routes in the UK.
Burnham-On-Sea postie says he is on track to finish by crossing
Tower Bridge on 18th June, finishing at the Guild Hall in London,
where he will join Royal Mails 500 year celebrations in
Mark, 50, aims to walk around 20 miles a day, and added: "I
am privileged to be following in the footsteps of ancient postal
carriers to mark 500 years of the postal service."
of Frankie will spur me on to the finish line in London on 18th
June 2016. I cant thank Royal Mail, my colleagues and the
Communications Workers Union enough, for the first class help,
support and organisation it has taken to get me to the start today."
am looking forward to seeing many other fellow postmen and women
on my route, as well as Lily Foundation supporters."
Lily Foundation funds research to improve diagnosis and increase
treatment options for Mitochondrial Disease, and ultimately find
a cure. The charity also raises much needed awareness of the condition
and support families affected by Mitochondrial Disease.
here to find out how to make donations towards Mark's fundraising
twenty minutes a child is born who will develop Mitochondrial
Disease by the age of 16.
is no cure for this disease which is for many debilitating
and life limiting like little Frankie.
When a person has Mitochondrial Disease the Mitochondria
in the cells are not producing enough energy for the cells.
Sometimes they do not work at all, and sometimes they are
just not very efficient.
If a cell does not get enough energy (ATP) it cannot function
is a huge variety in the symptoms and severity of Mitochondrial
Disease. It depends on how many cells are affected, and
where they are in the body.
Every person with Mitochondrial Disease is affected differently.
Each individual affected will have a different combination
of Mitochondria that are working and not working within
However, there are times when particular body systems are
affected in a recognisable pattern and these have particular
names, for example Alpers, Leigh's disease, MELAS and MERRF.
The commonest parts of the body affected are those that
have the highest energy demands; brain, muscle, liver, heart
If a lot of Mitochondria in the body are affected in the
important body organs, like the brain, Mitochondrial disease
can be very serious.
The symptoms of Mitochondrial Disease are usually progressive
in body systems where the cells have a high demand for energy,
such as brain cells.
Is there treatment? Unfortunately there is no cure for Mitochondrial
Disease at present. Treatment is usually supportive to relieve
the symptoms demonstrated, for example treating seizures
can also try to make the respiratory chain more efficient
by using a co-factors and vitamins. Examples of these are
Ubiquinone (Co-factor Q10), Thiamine and Riboflavin.
Some people find that using a special diet can help, and
this varies depending on which part of the respiratory chain
is affected. Any metabolic stress on the body, for example
an illness, has the potential to cause a worsening or progression
of Mitochondrial Disease, as the cells may not be able to
cope with the extra demand placed upon them.
It is difficult to live in a world where all potential metabolic
stresses are removed, but it is important to be aware, so
that early medical advice and treatment of any illness can
The Lily Foundation is currently supporting research initiatives
at Guy's and St Thomas'/Evelina Children's Hospital, Newcastle
University and Great Ormond Street Hospital/ Institute of
Child Health and Sir John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.
funding this work, it's hope to enable doctors to get a
better understanding of how mitochondria function. This
will help identify new disease causing genes and improve
the speed and accuracy of diagnosis. This will also lead
to the development of effective treatment options, techniques
to prevent transmission and ultimately to find a cure.