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Crossing continents for daughter Katie

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: September 04, 2013

  • NEW CHALLENGE: Ian at Machu Picchu in Peru in April.

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A WADEBRIDGE security consultant whose daughter is affected by a brain disorder is set to conquer Africa's highest peak next month on the latest stage of his four-continent trek.

Ian Rutherford is raising money for a charity that offers support for people with dystonia, and has already hiked across Barbados. In April he tackled the 550-year-old Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes.

Now Mr Rutherford will climb Mount Kilimanjaro, situated in Tanzania near the border with Kenya. The strenuous trek to the top of the 5,895-metre dormant volcanic mountain is expected to take 10 days and has a 40 per cent failure rate.

The culmination of his fundraising efforts will be in the spring when Mr Rutherford will hike along Hadrian's Wall, before trekking to the base camp of the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest in Nepal.

Mr Rutherford's eight-year-old daughter Katie suffers from dystonia, which incorporates uncontrollable and sometimes painful muscle spasms caused by incorrect signals from the brain. Other brain functions such as memory and intellect are not affected.

There are different types of the condition, focal dystonia being the most common, which affects only one part of the body. It is estimated to affect 70,000 people in the UK.

Mr Rutherford is raising money for the Dystonia Society and is hoping to reach a total of £10,000. The total currently stands at £4,000.

He said: "When my daughter was diagnosed with dystonia four years ago, it changed my life. It has changed her life, as it has for thousands of others. By raising funds, I want to help change their lives for the better.

"My challenge is to complete some of the most inhospitable treks around the world, and raise money to help those who suffer from dystonia and raise awareness of this condition."

He is currently training hard for the Kilimanjaro challenge, running in all weathers along coastal paths and up and down Rough Tor and Brown Willy on Bodmin Moor.

"Kilimanjaro shouldn't be underestimated, the failure rate is quite high so I'm training adequately for the challenge," Mr Rutherford said. "At that altitude things can go wrong so I have to be prepared.

"The funds I raise will help the Dystonia Society to continue their excellent work in helping sufferers, creating awareness and supporting research.

Mr Rutherford said local response has been fantastic.

"People have stopped me in the street to wish me luck and donated their hard-earned money and I hope that support continues as I try to raise as much as possible for this cause."

People wishing to sponsor Mr Rutherford should visit www.dystoniatreks.com

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