Harpenden fundraiser tackles 100km trek for hospitals charity

Shirley Anderson and her husband Rob.

Shirley Anderson and her husband Rob. - Credit: Shirley Anderson

An intrepid Harpenden kidney donor put her trainers to the test when she tackled a gruelling 100km walking challenge to raise money for staff and patients at Guy’s and St Thomas’.

Setting off from Corfe Castle in Dorset, Shirley Anderson and her husband Rob spent two days in May this year trekking west along the craggy coastline past Durdle Door, Weymouth and Portland Bill before finishing at the market town of Bridport.

Shirley, 49, undertook the challenge for the hospital charity to mark a year since she donated one of her kidneys to the son of a friend at Guy’s in central London.

Shirley Anderson at the 48km mark.

Shirley Anderson at the 48km mark. - Credit: Shirley Anderson

She said: “I wanted to do something to celebrate the occasion that, one year on, I am fit and able and that donating one of my kidneys hasn’t stopped me from doing anything.

“The care and kindness that was bestowed upon me at Guy’s Hospital really made me want to give back. I wanted to raise money to help the people who had looked after me so well while I was there.”

Shirley, who works as a fundraiser for St Albans Cathedral, has two children aged 10 and 12, and two step-children aged 22 and 24.

She said donating a kidney has not stopped her being active and two weeks before her Dorset hike she cycled 100km round the Isle of Wight with a friend.

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Shirley added: “Giving a kidney has not held me back from anything. I’m able to do more than before, and I want people to know that. Without the full support of Rob and the children I couldn’t have done it.”

Shirley and Rob Anderson at the start point.

Shirley and Rob Anderson at the start point. - Credit: Shirley Anderson

Shirley was inspired for the challenge by a previous family camping trip to Dorset when she was impressed by the beautiful coastal scenery.

She and Rob walked 13 hours on the first day, then were up again trekking the path from 6am the following day, clocking up 23 hours of walking in total for the 100km route.

Shirley admits she wasn’t prepared for how tough the challenge would be, adding: “I didn’t realise how gruelling the coastal route was. It was so hilly. It’s a lot tougher than we thought it would be. We got plenty of blisters along the way. It’s definitely something to tick off my bucket list.”

Guy’s and St Thomas’ has the largest kidney transplant service in England, performing hundreds of kidney transplants each year.

Shirley’s fundraising page is still open for donations - crowdfunder.co.uk/p/100k-jurassic-coast-walkjog