Zebbie a 9 year old Labrador and his owner Katrina are walking from Edinburgh to Oxford to raise awareness of a little known cancer called DSRCT (Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumour). They started in Edinburgh on 26 August and, after 400 miles of walking, they will arrive in Oxford on 29 September.
They are walking in memory of Katrina’s son Jay who died from DSRCT in December 2016 aged 31. He left behind a young widow, two small boys and a fervent hope that his dying would not be in vain. DSRCT is a rare and devastating sarcoma, which affects the young. The average age range is from 15 to 30. The cancer is difficult to diagnose, fast growing and even after treatment readily returns. The treatment itself is brutal and even then the prognosis is dismal. Zebbie & Katrina set out from The Maggie’s Centre at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, where for 19 months Jay was looked after. On Friday they will finally reach Jay’s childhood home in Oxford.
Shortly before Jay died Katrina promised him that she would do everything she could to try and help others avoid the fate that befell him. Research into DSRCT scarcely exists. There is little funding for it and the big cancer trusts admit that DSRCT is not high on their list. Katrina is setting up a trust in Jay’s name which hopes to raise significant funds for research into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of DSRCT and rare cancers. This walk is the start of the campaign.
Katrina said: “I must be crazy, I have never done anything remotely like this before. I have never walked serious miles or carried a rucksack turtle-like on my back. The idea came about in a moment of madness whilst Zebbie and I were sitting comfortably on a sofa at home but it now feels very real and very scary. Zebbie and I have been training for the walk, which has involved a lot of getting lost and a horrible realisation that our map reading skills leave a lot to be desired. I really hope that people will want to follow our journey and encourage us.”
You can follow Zebbie and Katrina on Facebook by searching for ‘Walking for Jay’ or on Instagram, ‘zebbiewalks4jay’. Donations can be made through justgiving.com/crowdfunding/walkingforjay.