A Whitchurch firefighter who took on a gruelling 23-mile walk in full kit has said he would have crawled to finish if it meant honouring his fundraising mum’s memory.
Tom Barlow, 24, who is also a personal trainer, did the Herculean task at Bodytech, where he works in Whitchurch, on Monday, which would have been mum Debbie Barlow’s birthday.
Debbie, who died from ovarian cancer nearly 18 months ago, raised thousands of pounds before she passed away and Tom wanted to do something that equalled her inspiring work on the milestone, raising money for Severn Hospice, which provided care in her final days, in the process.
“I did the walk to carry on the fundraising my mum did for various charities and to also give back to the hospice, which provided great care for my mum in her final weeks and also to my family at that time,” said Tom.
“Mum is a great inspiration to me and the fundraising she did in the past – such as riding 400km across Cuba while receiving chemotherapy – proves what an amazing and strong woman she was.
“The love and support she received during her fundraising attempts was amazing and I know it meant a lot to her.
“With my mum being such a keen fundraiser, I decided I wanted to do something in her memory, not just this year but it will be an annual event now.
“The walk of 23 miles this year is the distance from my mum’s home to the Severn Hospice in Shrewsbury and the idea of doing it in fire kit was to make it more of a challenge.
“Preparation wise, my job as a personal trainer and retained firefighter keeps me fit and I walk regularly.”
Tom admitted the only thing that kept him going through the challenge was his mum’s memory and if he felt like he was struggling, he simply reminded himself of the pain she went through.
He added: “During the walk, there were times I got bored or felt a little tired, or the blisters on my feet started to hurt.
“But throughout that time, I remembered everything my mum did for charity and the pain she would go through doing them and thought my blisters were nothing compared to her chemo.
“There was absolutely no way I was going to stop and I would have crawled to the finish if I had to.”
You can still donate to Tom’s achievements, either through sponsorship forms at Bodytech in Whitchurch or his Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/
See full story in the Whitchurch Herald