Ashford Hill businesswoman's 5k white cane walk to raise vital funds for BCMS-supported school in India
AN Ashford Hill woman has taken a leap of faith and completed a '5k white cane walk' every day for five days, in a bid to raise vital funds for a school in India.
Liz Jackson MBE, 47, went blind in her twenties, but is now learning to use a white cane for the first time and decided to put her new skills to good use.
The 47-year-old is sales and marketing director at Kingsclere-based BCMS and the company supports a school and orphanage in Kakinada, India, where it educates and looks after more than 500 children from the lowest tier of Indian society.
Vara Prasad, the principal of St Mark’s School, also looks after 30 widows and a nearby leper colony.
Mrs Jackson said: “As part of the BCMS management team, I get regular updates on what’s been happening at St Mark’s.
“Over the past few weeks, the news from India has become more and more distressing, with cases and deaths rising exponentially. Due to Covid, we can’t be there in person. The one thing we can do is provide financial support, to deliver essential day-to-day care for the children.
“I couldn't just stand by and do nothing. I went totally blind in my twenties, and now I'm learning to use a white cane for the very first time.
“If I was holding someone's arm, 5k every day for five days wouldn't be a challenge for me at all. But, navigating this distance, after only two training sessions, was definitely difficult.
“The support so far from the community has been fantastic. We’ve now raised over £5,700 which will go directly to our friends in India – this will mean the world to them.”
Mr Prasad added: “Indians are struggling and panicking and thousands are dying every day and millions are suffering without vaccines, medicine and oxygen.
“People are losing their lives as families and mass cremations are going on and nobody is going near to see their relatives. Poor people are dying on the roads.
“At St Mark’s, the children and widows are affected by some sickness every day and we need to provide both medical care and daily essentials, because the prices of our foods like rice, dhal, vegetables and oils have doubled.”
Mrs Jackson, who was joined on her fifth and final walk on Friday by BCMS CEO Jonathan Dunn, said that she had been sharing all the messages of support with Mr Prasad and he had been “incredibly heartened by the sense of solidarity” coming from UK.
If you would like to sponsor Mrs Jackson you can visit her fundraising page at https://gofund.me/3ff43b05