Who am I?
My name is Rachel Kirkbride, I am 49 years old and live by the sea in Christchurch. Despite the fact that I have a very wonky eye that makes me seem like Calamity Jane at times, I love spending time in backcountry NZ.
What is the MS-TrampNZ?
It is a journey by foot along Te Araroa, the 3000km trail along the length of New Zealand.
I aim to achieve this very challenging goal in a continuous push, beginning in November 2015. In doing so, I will not only be fulfilling a personal goal, but am sincerely committed to raising awareness of the great work done by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of NZ - and hope to raise whatever funds I can for them.
How can YOU help?
Why am I doing this?
My brother Ian was diagnosed with MS.
Think about all the places that you been to, how many sunrises and sunsets that you have seen, how many hands you have held, how many plans for the future you have made in the last 15 years. Then stop and imagine that for these 15 years you were in a wheelchair or a bed, needing help with every movement of your body that you take for granted. Seeing your elderly parents visit you every week and taking your frustrations out on them. Then imagine seeing the indescribable look on your mother's face as she attends your funeral.
When he died just before his 50th birthday, Ian was bloated from steroids and could only move his head. Prior to MS he was a keen sailor, loved fast cars and worked in Russia before the end of communism.It would be fair to say that Ian knew a lot about Russian vodka and even more about very tall, very beautiful Russian women. He organised for some children from Chernobyl to visit the UK and to enjoy some fun after their terrible disaster.
Ian and I shared many characteristics, such as a mutual loathing of tramping. This was unfortunate because as a family we spent most weekends doing just that.
Ian and I were good mates - he called me Ratchet, and I still miss him today.
That is why I am doing this trip.
Will I make it?
The earthquakes in Christchurch destroyed my house and I was living in one room for 4 years. I developed patience and understanding that my best effort on any given day is good enough.I am now comfortable with asking for help, both from friends and people I don't know.
Any help that you can give will enable me to take the many steps for MS that i will be taking on my 3,000 kilometer journey.Thank you so much.