I got an email from my aunt whose brother in law is a Principal Pharmacist at his local hospital and is doing the Marathon Des Sables (the marathon of sands).
It covers 151 miles over 7 days – equivalent to more than five marathons. All competitors have to be self sufficient and carry everything needed for the duration of the race in backpacks; food, clothes, sleeping gear and medical equipment. They face temperatures of 120F, 800ft sand dunes, dehydration, the risk of sunstroke and, at least, severely blistered feet. Water is rationed to 9L per day per competitor so effective water management is crucial.
This is all for a very good cause, and I didn’t realise how good until I headed over to the Charity Website, Facing Africa (based in the UK) – they specifically deal with fighting a disease called NOMA:
NOMA is a gangrenous infection of the face, found mainly in sub Saharan Africa, which starts in the gums of malnourished children already debilitated by diseases like measles and malaria.
It spreads quickly and in weeks eats away the lips, cheek, nose and jaw of victims leaving gaping holes in their faces. Treatment, in the early stages, is relatively simple with inexpensive antibiotics which victims have no access to.
Without early treatment 70% to 90% of children die. Those who survive are left with grotesque facial disfigurement for the rest of their lives which means most are unable to talk, smile or eat properly which in turn causes stigma and social isolation. Specialist surgery for facial reconstruction can help those affected.
Here are some images of the people who have to deal with this disease – it isn’t pretty, but its the reality and terrifying:
Aye, were facing difficult times financially but if you could spare something – anything at all – then do do!
Here is the link to sponsor Andy online: www.facingafrica.org
You can donate in £, $ or Euros (I can’t find the Euro symbol…damn you MAC) so even if its $5, it could still buy one kiddy some antibiotics.
The Donation Page is very easy to use, Name, Address – for the sponsorship section please fill in:
Competing Person: Andy Humphreys
Event Name: Marathon Des Sables 2009
Err you don’t really have to leave a comedy message. I am sure camels are vegetarians….
If you are in the UK you MUST tick YES in the Gift Aid box – this means the government will give back the tax paid on your donation.
Andy is going to the Sahara on the 24th of March so not much time left, but even if you decide to donate later on please do by visiting the charity site.
Find out more here: