Grandad’s million-step France to UK challenge

David Jeapes with his bear mascot for the upcoming walk

A grandfather is in training for a million-step, 775km challenge to raise funds for his disabled granddaughter.

David Jeapes, 62, will walk from his home in Saint- Pardoux, Deux-Sèvres, to Hastings, East Sussex, to raise money for four-year-old Violet who has quadriplegic dystonic cerebral palsy, epilepsy and a rare chromosome disorder.

He will also be raising money for two other charities.

One, APEEIMC, is in France and helps families with disabled children. The other is in the UK and supports the work of Evelina London Children’s Healthcare Hospital.

APEEIMC’s Sonia Cardoner said they are very appreciative that their “petite association” has been chosen, as she says they are determined to continue their battle to make sure disabled children have the same rights as others to play, go to school and live in specially adapted housing.

She said: “We cannot stop because our children are extraordinary.”

Mr Jeapes and his wife Suzette, who is helping to organise the event, would like to know if any Connexion readers could help by offering him and his support driver a bed for the night along the route.

Anyone who can help should contact Mr Jeapes via the walkingforviolet.com website.

He would also love anyone to join him for part of the walk and is asking for friends to sponsor them. He is hoping to raise as much as €10,000.

The couple’s local bar has already helped by holding a raffle and bingo night to raise money, and local business Educ’Aventure is planning a sponsored dog walk.

The walk will take place from September 6 to October 6 and will take Mr Jeapes through the departments of Deux-Sèvres, Sarthe, Orne and Calvados.

He will take the ferry from Caen to Portsmouth and then walk to Hastings.

Mr Jeapes said he wanted to make people more aware of the daily struggles that parents of disabled children face

“Life is a constant battle. A battle for medical support, physical support, money, space to live and the time to enjoy being a family,” he said.

“This walk may be hard. Some days each step might burn, and some days I might feel like giving up.

“But none of my first steps will ever be as hard as the first steps that Violet took in her specialised walker.

“The determination on her face is motivation enough.”

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