Want to Save Lives? Take a Hike!
Dodging a puma on the loose, getting lost, and wandering for miles without a cell phone signal is not what mothers2mothers supporters in London expected when they kicked-off a series of walks through the English countryside. But that’s what they got, along with the breathtaking beauty of “historic walls in lusciously green fields, the newly born lambs running about, beautiful & well-kept country houses fronted with perfect gardens dripping with roses.”
On May 4, mothers4mothers2mothers (m4m2m), a group of women in London who have dedicated themselves to support the work of mothers2mothers, kicked off a 183-mile Thames Walk. Every week from May to November, this group of dedicated women and other supporters hike a different section of the Historic River Thames that flows through southern England.
All proceeds from the walks works to support mothers2mothers, helping to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV – and sustain the long-term health of women and children. Tickets cost £35 — enough to provide mothers2mothers services to a pregnant woman living with HIV through her pregnancy and the first six months of her child’s life. Walkers are also collecting donations from those who support their efforts — the goal is to raise £13,000, nearly enough to support a site for a year. Almost £4,000 has been raised so far!
Discussion about doing the Thames walks initially started with ideas about going to the North Pole or running a marathon but “we thought we should do something a bit tamer,” said one of m4m2m’s organizers, Carolina Manhusen Schwab. But participants soon realized the walk was going to be less “tame” than expected. The cab driver who dropped them off gave them a hint. “The driver looked at us like we were totally insane. He said where are your walking shoes? And did you know there is a puma on the loose?” It turns out that an illegally-imported puma was on the loose eating sheep in the countryside.
Still, the group started their trek, “of course”, says another m4m2m organizer, Maartje Skare-Hessels, thinking of the women they were helping half a world away. They had even prepared signs with Mentor Mothers’ names on them. In the end it was a fun and meaningful morning!
The second part of the Thames Walk kicks off this autumn, and all are welcome! There will be a family walk to the finish on November 5th.
Join or be inspired by mothers4mothers2mothers activities.