Lizzie Bannister (27, from Wimblington in Cambridgeshire) is preparing to do the Isle of Wight Challenge on 2nd May to raise money for Livability.
Embracing nature and fighting stigma
Lizzie chose to do the Isle of Wight Challenge as she is a lover of nature and, with a degree in conservation, understands the importance of respecting the great outdoors in preserving the natural environment. However, in the past Lizzie has faced discrimination which has prevented her from enjoying one of her favourite past times to the full extent.
Lizzie, who has mild athetoid cerebral palsy, said: ‘I faced discrimination and wasn’t allowed on a walking trip before. It was a walk in the Peak District over the weekend organised by two college tutors and I paid to go but after the pre-walk meeting I was told I couldn’t go despite others offering to ‘help’! I was devastated because it was an agricultural college, and being a country girl, walking and outdoors pursuits and work was part of my life! But apparently paperwork and health and safety (and ignorance) were more important, which should never be the case!’
Rather than letting these experiences affect her negatively, Lizzie has taken to fundraising for Livability in order to help change attitudes towards disability and, in her own words, to ‘help those who are more severely disabled to enjoy the optimum quality of life.’
The Isle of Wight Challenge: Fundraising and training
The Isle of Wight Challenge (www.isleofwightchallenge.com/the-challenge) is a gruelling 106km trek around the England’s largest island, which runs over May 2nd – 3rd. It is walked by most and run by some and along the way you get to take in stunning coastal views but also have to face the undulating periphery of the rocky island. It’s a beautiful challenge! Lizzie has been preparing for a while, and is ready to take it on now: ‘I am walking everywhere I need to go as often as possible. I take long circular walks and I ride my pony a lot (including a 10 mile ride recently). I have never done something like this before!’
She has also managed to raise £255 and aims to raise a total of £475 by mid-June. Info can be found on Lizzie’s JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/lizziebannister Lizzie says: ‘I made flapjacks and raised money through my family’s work colleagues, asked friends and family to donate and prepared sponsorship forms and posters to put in local areas. I read through the information given to me and am planning to take day trips of walking long distances.’
Lizzie says: ‘I chose Livability because it is not specific to a condition or type, supports severely disabled people all across the U K and is faith-based, which is nice as faith is one of the sources of supportive, community-like thinking. It also includes mental health issues, which is important to me and makes the charity comprehensive and meet needs fully.’