Well, 460.75 miles (741.5 km), to be exact.
When I wrote about April Hester in late September, the headline on my column was “She Has MS and She’s Planning to Hike 500 Miles.” Well, she did it, hiking the Palmetto Trail from Walhalla, in the South Carolina mountains, to Awendaw, on the coast. With husband Bernie alongside, April completed the hike on Nov. 3. The couple had expected the hike to take 35 to 40 days. They did it in 34!
April was diagnosed with MS in 1996, just after she turned 20 years old. Like many of us, she has balance and fatigue issues. Her legs can become tired, her foot sometimes drops and she falls a lot. April used “trekking” poles for the hike, even when the trail took them through through the downtown sections of some towns. She also wore ankle braces.
Needless to say, the hike wasn’t easy. Over the first seven days, the Hesters covered almost 100 miles of mountains, with some sections that were almost vertical walls. Bernie Hester tells me, “April nearly lost two toenails but we pushed through all the pain.”
The further she goes the stronger she gets
April is on one DMD, Gilenya. She also tries to eat a lot of vegetables and fish. But, Bernie says, the hiking exercise is what really builds April’s strength:
Why did she hike?
April hiked the trail to raise awareness about the fight against MS. She also hoped to raise money for the National MS Society. Unfortunately, she fell short of a lofty goal. There’s still an opportunity to make a donation, however, by clicking here.
You can also read Bernie’s day-by-day journal of the hike by clicking on April and Bernie’s Trail Journals web page.
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