Walk your AS Off team including NASS trustees, supporters and staff tops the leaderboard!

Huge congratulations to the 70 amazing humans and 3 amazing dogs who joined together into the force known as The Orange Apples, and totted up an extraordinary 16,758,404 steps to top the tables in this year’s Walk Your AS Off challenge. That’s an incredibly long way to go to raise awareness of axial SpA (AS)!!

Team Captain and NASS trustee Gillian Eames says:

“Mostly our team is made up of people with Ankylosing Spondylitis & axial SpA and their friends & family. We also have some of the NASS Team along with a couple of NASS Trustees & NASS Chairman Raj Mahapatra who certainly contributes plenty of steps with all his running along with David Semmence who also runs.

My good friend Welsh Minister Huw Irranca Davies, who also has Ankylosing Spondylitis, has been with us from when we started. Our team is also lucky to have Dr Raj Sengupta Consultant Rheumatologist from Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath, Professor Karl Gaffney Consultant Rheumatologist at Spire Norwich Hospital, Dr. Antoni Chan from Royal Berkshire Hospital and Will Gregory from AStretch.”

Gillian’s fellow Orange Apples are so proud and energised to take part:

“I join the team Orange Apples every year for WYASO to raise the profile of AS. Through increased awareness we can reduce the delays to diagnosis which will allow patients to access modern treatment. So every year I hope I can do my little bit by joining hands with friends across the ASIF network to walk the steps, run the extra mile, climb that flight of stairs to improve care for patients with AS.”

Dr. Antoni Chan, Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, UK

“I am a mum of a daughter who has AS and fibromyalgia. I am a regular walker but in May my efforts are doubled as it brings me closer to understanding what my daughter is going through. She is amazing, never complains although she always has pain. Gillian is our leader and gets us all going, she deserves a star or perhaps an MBE!!! Go for it Orange Apples! I hope one day my daughter will be pain free.”

June Sexton, Team Orange Apples

“Gillian’s been really encouraging. Joining the Orange Apples has made me feel less alone.”

Beth Shaw, Team Orange Apples

“I take part in Walk Your AS Off because my husband suffers every day with AS and rheumatoid Arthritis. I am a keen runner who has run 7 marathons. I lost count of how many half marathons, 10 milers, 10ks and 5ks I’ve done but I couldn’t do them without my supportive husband who drives to races and comes along to support even though he’s in constant pain. He’s my world and I wouldn’t be able to do all this without him.”

David Semmence, Team Orange Apples

The team has raised £180 for NASS so far and you can still donate to their fundraising page here.

Congratulations to all of the 2019 WYASO Champions – great stepping!


How far will YOU go to raise awareness? Will you Walk Your AS Off? Create a petition? Contact your MP to ensure that issues for our community are more prominent in your local agenda? Tell us what you’re up to and let’s see how far we can go together.