Put your lockdown walking to good use and help fight in the battle against cancer and Covid

Over the past year there have been over 125,000 lives lost to coronavirus and at least 166,000 to cancer.

It’s an unimaginable figure, but one that a small charity in the heart of Buckinghamshire is working hard to combat.

Called Medical Detection Dogs (MDD), they’re a dedicated team who train dogs to sniff out diseases such as cancer, coronavirus and even neurological conditions including Parkinson’s. In return, their work will give people a better chance of receiving an earlier diagnosis, which in many cases, will have a direct impact on their chances of survival.

However, like any charity, they rely on donations to keep going.

That’s why, in a year that we’ve been rocked by Covid and the horrendous knock-on effect it’s had in the diagnosis and treatment of other life-threatening conditions, we are championing MDD through our 2021 Lifeline campaign.

While there’s no doubt lockdown has been a tremendously difficult time, one thing it has given many of us is the opportunity to discover the joy of walking. So we’re asking you to put all those steps to good use and sign up to our Walk and Woof for MDD challenge this June.

For those who love a good long hike there’s a 42k marathon distance route, while if you prefer a slightly shorter walk, there’s a 10k walk on offer, which you can even bring your dog and family on.

The adventure starts and finishes just an hour outside London in the beautiful Oxfordshire village of Goring and takes our trekkers through breathtaking countryside, as well as along the Thames Path.

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When: Saturday 19 June, 2021

Where: Goring, Oxfordshire

Cost: To take part in either Woof and Walk for MDD there is a registration fee of £35. Marathon-distance fundraisers will be required to raise a minimum of £300 per person, while those choosing the 10k, are expected to raise it per family. 80% of that amount (£240) will need to be raised eight weeks before the challenge and the remainder within four weeks of completion.

Anything else I should know? Once you’re signed up we’ll invite you to join our Lifeline fundraising and Facebook pages, where you’ll get meet our other walkers, share top money-raising tips, as well as getting handy hiking advice from our experts.

So, how do I sign up? If you want to sign up to our 10k Woof and Walk for MDD click here. For those up for the marathon-distance hike, please click here. Both tell you everything you need to know about this year’s amazing Lifeline challenge.

For T&Cs from our event organisers Charity Challenge, click here.

Good luck!

We’ll also have some familiar faces joining us, with The Great Celebrity Bake Off winner Alexandra Burke signing up, as well as TV’s Dr Christian Jessen, presenter Debbie Flint and reality star Pete Wicks.

Talking about why she’s taking part, Alexandra explained, ‘When I heard that there are these incredible dogs that can sniff out diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s, even Covid, and, of course Type 1 diabetes, supporting Medical Detection Dogs through the Lifeline campaign immediately became a really important cause for me.’

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Our celeb walkers include (clockwise from top left) Alexandra Burke, Debbie Flint, Pete Wicks and Dr Christian Jessen (Picture: Getty/MDD)

Pete added, ‘I can’t wait to join the MDD team in raising awareness of their groundbreaking research. Dogs have always been and always will be man’s best friend.’

Meanwhile, Debbie, who is an for ambassador the charity alongside Dr Christian, said, ‘What I love about this charity is that it is not just about the dogs, it’s about dogs helping humans. So rather asking people if they want to help me raise money for dogs, it’s the opposite. The money will help dogs to help us.’

Co-founder of Medical Detection Dogs, Claire Guest had her own breast cancer detected by her trained dog, Daisy, back in 2008 when the charity was just starting out, so knows firsthand how important their work is.

‘The consultant told me that the tumour had been situated so deeply in my chest that had Daisy not spotted it, my prognosis would have been a lot different if we’d had waited for the lump to grow enough for me to notice it,’ she recalled. 

There’s no doubt that MDD’s work does saves lives, so why not consider all your lockdown walking as training in progress and sign up (details above) to help raise money and be a part of the amazing difference they make.

We can guarantee it will be a day to remember, full of fresh air, fun and the warm fuzzy feeling of doing some good – what more could you ask for?

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This year sees the return of our brilliant charity campaign: Lifeline.

Our aim is simple – to raise as much money as possible for charity with YOUR help.

For 2021 we have chosen to support Medical Detection Dogs, a vital organisation that helps train dogs to sniff out serious diseases such as cancer, Type 1 diabetes, Parkinson’s and coronavirus.

As well as sharing their story to help raise awareness, readers, charity supporters and celebrities will also be taking on a 26-mile trek or 10k dog-friendly hike across the Oxfordshire countryside on Saturday 19 June, 2021.

To make a donation, click here.


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