Sheffield Walkers Raising Funds For Life-saving Genetic Research

More than 350 staff, students and friends of the University of Sheffield are taking part in The Big Walk 2022 to raise vital funds for genetic disease research

Hundreds of staff, students, alumni and friends of the University of Sheffield are hiking across the Peak District today (Friday 24 June 2022) to raise money for life-changing genetic disease therapies.

The Big Walk 2022 is set to raise thousands of pounds in support of the University of Sheffield’s Genetic Disease Research Appeal, which will fund the development of pioneering gene therapy treatments for diseases such as motor neurone disease (MND), dementia and other rare inherited diseases.

This year’s event returns after a two-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is the sixth Big Walk hosted by the University since 2015. The annual event has raised over £400,000 in total supporting a variety of life-changing projects such as Yorkshire’s first MRI-Pet scanner as well as student scholarships so that everyone, regardless of their financial position, can access university education.

More than 350 people are taking part in this year’s event including Professor Julia Dobson, from the University of Sheffield’s School of Languages and Cultures, who lost her Dad to motor neurone disease in March 2020.

“Due to the pandemic, I’ve been able to do very little to mark my father's passing and celebrate his life. The Big Walk gives me the chance to do something personal and practical through helping to raise funds for genetic disease research," Dobson said.

Fundraisers have the choice of either 30 km or 50 km route across the Peak District. The 50 km walk sets off from Hope train station before meeting the shorter distance walkers at Edale, with the route then taking participants from Ladybower, to Stanage Edge and along Redmires Reservoir, before finishing at the university campus.

After crossing the finish line this year, walkers will each receive a sustainable medal made from scrap materials by the iForge - a 24-7 student-led makerspace. There will also be a charity cake raffle after the walk with cakes made by Great British Bake Off 2018 winner Dr Rahul Mandal, who works at the University of Sheffield Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC). All proceeds from the cake sales will go towards the Genetic Disease Research Appeal.

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