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Stanford-le-Hope man battles the wind to march for Karis
4:23pm Friday 8th June 2012 in News
A STANFORD-LE-HOPE man battled strong winds today to march for the Karis May Darling Foundation.
Luke Seeley, 26, an ex-soldier, wore a special rucksack weighing 55 kilos for the first day of the fundraising march, which saw him walk 18 miles from Shoebury seafront to Karis’ memorial bench at One Tree Hill in Stanford-le-Hope.
Tomorrow he will put the rucksack on again to walk from One Tree Hill to Blackwell in Canary Wharf, then on to Buckingham Palace the next day, where he was stationed in Coldstream Guards.
At the end of the challenge, Luke, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, will have walked around 65 miles.
Karis, of Gardner Avenue, in Corringham, was 12 when she suddenly died from streptococcus A last April.
Her family donated her heart, liver, pancreas and kidneys to help save the lives of five others, and run a foundation in her memory supporting under privileged children in performing arts and sports.
Speaking after the first day of his challenge, Luke, from Branksome Avenue, said: “It hasn’t been too bad today, as the wind has been behind me most of the way, I’ve just got a bit of cramp in my leg.
“Tomorrow will be harder as a lot of it is uphill.”
Luke did not know Karis’ family before he decided to the challenge, but was inspired to help after reading about her story.
He said: “It’s a really good cause and I just wanted to do something to help, so I came up with the idea for the march.”
So far Luke has raised around £500 for the foundation.
Karis’ mum and dad Kerri and John were among the family and friends waiting to greet Luke at the top of One Tree Hill, where Karis' memorial bench is.
John said: “What Luke is doing is brilliant, it makes us so proud that even though Karis isn’t here anymore, people are doing these things in her memory.
“When he knocked on the door and said he wanted to do this it was fantastic.
”Karis would be so chuffed that someone like Luke, a role model, is doing this for her.”
If you would like to sponsor Luke, go online to www.bmy charity.com/marchforkaris.
For more information about Karis’ foundation, check out www.karismay darlingfoundation.org.uk.