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Walk As One

Since 2012, people with axial SpA (AS) across the world join Walk AS One to record their steps for the month of May.

There are two teams in the UK, the AS Buzzers run by captains Kathy Miller and Gerry Dance, and the Orange Apples run by captains Gillian Eames and Jean Morton. The teams were encouraged to count their steps every day in May, improving their mobility, raising awareness of axial SpA (AS) and raising funds for NASS.

Due to lockdown and the social distancing measures that are in place, Walk AS One was especially important this year as it gave everyone involved a sense of togetherness and achievement.

Orange Apples Team
Captain of the Orange Apples team, Gillian had lots of positive things to say about her team, and a special mention and thanks to everyone who supported. She says,

I felt that this year was very important to bring the AS community together and have a bit of fun so that we did not feel so isolated from everyone… I would like to thank everyone that joined in this year’s challenge. All my pals, their families, along with members of my family.

We started the Orange Apples Team around 2012 when the lovely Jennifer Dye Visser founded Walk Your AS Off [in the USA]. Over the years, it has grown world-wide .. thank you, Jennifer. We have so many great people on our team who all submitted fantastic steps, so it’s hard to name everyone but a huge thank you to everyone. I feel that it’s only right to thank our three Consultant Rheumatologist Dr Raj Sengupta, Dr Antoni Chan and Professor Karl Gaffney along with Will Gregory. Also a huge thank you to Welsh Minister Huw Irranca Davies and Andrew George.

Well done to our youngest member Sebastian who continuously raises awareness of AS for his Mum. I met Sebastian at a NASS event in Westminster when he was just 7 years old. I can’t believe that he is now 13 years old. Thank you, Sebastian, for always joining in .. proud to know you.

A total of 66 people joined the Orange Apples, and collectively, they walked an outstanding 17,084,648 steps, earning them second place in Walk AS One. The Orange Apples Team also raised a fantastic total of £530 for NASS on their JustGiving fundraising page!

AS Buzzers
Coming in at third place, was the 27 strong AS Buzzers team with a fantastic total of 12,197.292 steps!  Kathy says

I’m proud of every single one of [the Buzzers] for the effort they’ve put in [and] we’re very grateful for the support that we get from the Buzzers, friends and family.

I’ll always try and raise awareness wherever I go – my own diagnosis took over 30 years and I really don’t want anyone to ever have to go through that!

Here are some words from the wonderful supporters in the Orange Apples Team and the AS Buzzers who counted their steps for Walk AS One this year:

It gave me motivation and a sense that I wasn’t alone in these difficult times. Proud to be a member of Orange Apples. Lesley Brown.

It gave me motivation to get up off my butt each day knowing I was raising money and awareness of a charity close to my heart! But whilst shielding, it gave me a sense that I wasn’t alone, and I’m so proud to be part of Orange Apples. Becky Finnerty.

This was on my first day walking 9 miles proudly around North London. It really motivated me to get up and walk and I found some absolute beauty spots in my area that I never knew existed. Grace Keegan.

Completely lost in the woods! A challenge like this is fantastic for getting me out door and finding new routes to walk or run. Rebecca Fairclough.

Walk your AS off gave me motivation to get out there and do something worthwhile, not only for those who have to cope with the condition … but for my own mental health and well-being. Paul Worsel.

A special shout out to the Orange Apples PAWS Team, Rosie, Wilson, Maggie, Bella and Fitz, for helping their owners take that extra step each day. Collectively, the PAWS Team logged 1,978,173 steps for NASS!

Thank you to everyone who stepped out in the sunshine and the rain to walk for NASS.