Endurance challenge to raise awareness

Dr Martin Lee, who is kayaking around Britain to raise awareness of rheumatoid arthritis.'Contributed photo
Dr Martin Lee, who is kayaking around Britain to raise awareness of rheumatoid arthritis.'Contributed photo

A DOCTOR currently undertaking a 2,600-mile journey around the coastline of Britain to raise awareness of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is aiming to reach Montrose by Saturday.

Dr Martin Lee is aiming to raise £100,000 for the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) and has broke his journey up into 100 marathons which he aims to complete in 100 days, camping at set locations at the end of each day. He set out on his endurance challenge from the Ahoy Centre in Deptford, South East London, on April 1 and had begun his journey down the east coast of Scotland by the end of last week.

A keen kayaker from a young age, Dr Lee was inspired to take the challenge by his aunt Maureen who has lived with the crippling condition for many years. Around 690,000 people in the UK are thought to have RA.

Dr Lee said: “She was the reason I started studying medicine, knowing that I wanted to specialise in rheumatology.”

The journey so far has not been without its dangers and during his crossing of the Bristol Channel he was disorientated for more than 10 hours by strong winds and high waves. As he tried to summon the energy to continue, two dolphins surfaced either side and accompanied him for 15 minutes and provided the encouragement for him to keep going.

Dr Lee added: “I hope the aches and pains I am encountering from this challenge are the closest I come to feeling the pain that those with RA endure on a daily basis throughout their lifetime.”

Details about the round-Britain challenge can be found online at www.martinkayaking.co.uk while further information about RA is available on the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society’s website at www.nras.org.uk.