A South Carolina (SC) couple, husband – Bernie and wife – April Hester, will embark on their journey of the World’s Longest Hiking-only Footpath. To increase awareness regarding multiple sclerosis (MS), the couple will start trekking 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail on May 4, 2020.
MS is a disease caused by damage to the myelin sheath that covers neurons. Signs and symptoms vary depending upon the intensity of nerve damage and the type of nerves affected. This incurable disease can lead to permanent nerve damage, affecting the patient’s ability to walk independently.
April Hester hopes to inspire and encourage other individuals who are suffering from multiple sclerosis. April herself has multiple sclerosis and expects that her attempts of going over mountains, trails, cities, and roadways, also called as “Finish MS Hike“, will provide patients with the required awareness regarding this disabling neurological condition.
April isn’t the only person experiencing this condition. In the US, over one million people have been suffering from this incurable disease, with almost 400 cases identified every week. A person can develop multiple sclerosis (MS) at any stage of his life. But most of the time, they are identified with this condition from 20 to 40 years of age.
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To get themselves ready for Appalachian Trail hiking, during the last two years, April and her husband have hiked across rocky and remote South Carolina’s Foothills Trail (77 miles) for two times and Palmetto Trail (500 miles) for three times.
Suzette Anderson is the Director of Finance at the Palmetto Conservation Foundation (PCF). According to her, every year, a large number of people trek the Palmetto Trail. But in spite of this, only a few of these people have succeeded in completing the hike.
One of the reasons why PCF has acknowledged April and Bernie as Trail Ambassadors is because of their courageous effort in conjunction with devastating physical impacts of MS. Previously, Natalie Cappuccio Britt has worked as Executive Director at Palmetto Conservation Foundation.
According to Britt, this Beaufort couple attempting a thru-hike is a source of motivation for others who suffer from multiple sclerosis. Their story is about facing obstacles and overwhelming them and will motivate others to face challenges of life courageously.
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Britt added that a thru-trek is an extraordinary journey that isn’t that easy to accomplish. PCF supports April and Bernie in this noble cause and inspire other MS patients to walk a few steps with them to raise awareness about this disease.
The couple will keep posting throughout the journey in a trail journal or on Instagram account to encourage interested individuals to follow them and keep them updated. April and Bernie will also use a map to reveal their location.
Altogether, these steps will allow interested individuals to send inspiring messages to the couple, check out their progress, and read about their experience as they tackle and overcome challenges. Carly Arnold is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s spokespeople and Coordinator of Fundraising Support.
According to Arnold, knowing that multiple sclerosis affects the CNS of an individual, April will have to confront many challenges throughout her hiking experience. Overcoming these challenges and completing the hike will reveal the fighter in April, inspiring others who are suffering from MS.