Put Your Best 'Fancy' Foot Forward in Cornwall & Help Save Lives

PUBLISHED: 09:59 12 April 2011 | UPDATED: 19:09 20 February 2013

Zoe Wannamer's Design for VSO's In Her Shoes

Zoe Wannamer's Design for VSO's In Her Shoes

Join VSO's First 'In Her Shoes' Charity Walk

The Cornwall walk will be a really good fun social event but equally aims to raise crucial funds that could help save the lives of people in developing countries through VSOs vital volunteering work in healthcare (including maternal healthcare). The walks other purpose is to increase peoples awareness about the large number of women who die every day in Africa and Asia from child birth or pregnancy related issues. According to the World Health Organization, a woman dies every minute in childbirth. Many of these deaths could be avoided if there was access to the right maternal healthcare.

On Sunday 15thMay the walk will start from Lansallos National Trust car park in South East Cornwall at 10:30am. The walk is approximately ten miles and will take about five-hours. The route is along the coastal path from Lansallos to Polruan village, then following the River Fowey towards Pont Creek, past the church at Lanteglos-by-Fowey back to the coast at Pencarrow Head before returning to the cove of Lansallos. It will be strenuous in places but beautiful scenery. Bring a packed lunch and plenty refreshments.

To add to the fun, participants are being encouraged to be imaginative, go glitzy and decorate the walking shoes theyll be wearing on the big day! Walkers can get some inspiration by checking out Emily Maitlis, Miranda Hart, Beverley Knight and Zoe Wanamakers footwear designs for In Her Shoes, by logging ontowww.inhershoes.org.uk.

Lorraine Kelly, the sofa AM queen has donated a pair of her much loved shoes which shes signed! And to incentivise walkers, the top fundraisers from across the country could win a number of fantastic prizes, including Lorraines autographed shoes and those personalised by Emily and Miranda!

Fundraising for In Her Shoes is imperative. It well help VSO to continue to send skilled volunteers such as doctors and midwives to share their knowledge, experience and train local staff in the healthcare profession to be able to carry out these critical roles, which could lead to more lives being saved in the long term. VSO volunteer doctors and midwives are also busy treating patients right now overseas, resulting in an immediate effort to save lives in the developing world.

Grace a 19-year-old woman from southern Malawis Mwanza District in Africa had tragically endured three miscarriages before she became pregnant again. Grace was just seven months expectant when she went into premature labour with her first, much longed for daughter.

After encountering an arduous two-hour walk to reach her nearest health centre she thankfully gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Grace was absolutely ecstatic. This was the daughter she and her husband had wished for and she was named Chimwemwe (meaning happiness).

Being so premature her daughter was really tiny, weighing an alarming 3lbs. Because she was so small and fragile, Chimwemwe had trouble feeding and staying warm so Grace decided to take her back to hospital. This involved another long and tiring half-day walk for the new mother.

With no facilities for premature babies at the hospital, Grace was given a bed in the postnatal ward where she had to try to keep her vulnerable baby cosy. However this was a near impossible task without heaters or bedding and an outside temperature of just 10⁰C.

Struggling to maintain any body heat, Grace had no warmth to pass onto her daughter, as she clutched her close holding on to her for dear life and fearing the worst would happen. Tragically, it did. Three days later Chimwemwe passed away. Grace had encountered the horrendous loss of her daughter because of cold conditions and inadequate facilities.

Many of the fragile babies born early in Mwanza die particularly if theyre being transferred to the main regional hospital. So VSO volunteer Dr Marike Maijers has introduced ways of caring for the babies on site. Shes trained staff to provide kangaroo care, where mothers of premature babies keep them warm through skin contact.

In a dedicated, clean and heated room mothers press their tiny babies against their naked chests and wrap a traditional sarong around them both. This way, the mothers act as natural incubators. Dr Marike also fundraised in order to buy three much needed incubators for the unit, which have provided crucial support.

As a result, more local babies are now surviving, despite their small birth weights. Its the kind of care Grace should have found waiting for her at the end of her long walk but regretfully didnt.

kangaroo care is just one of many ways VSO health volunteers are working in hospitals and communities to help mothers detect problems early enough and access medical care. They set up special maternal clinics and nurseries for sick babies and teach the next generation of midwives, obstetricians and nurses.

VSOs fundraising development manager, Jane Quayle said: The impact of our health volunteers work is significant but we urgently need more funds to maintain and strengthen the flow of volunteers to where theyre needed most. Even today in Malawi one woman in 18 still dies in childbirth; in Sierra Leone its one in eight. Every woman, regardless of where she lives in the world, should have access to good maternal health care. Your involvement in our walk could prevent future heartache for women like Grace.

So why not round up your friends and family, sign up and get together for a really fun day out. Youll be out enjoying yourselves, being active and spending time with your nearest and dearest which will be really great and even better for those in the worlds poorest countries wholl benefit from the money raised. Please join us and walk together for a great cause that could help save lives.

In Her Shoes aims to attract at least 100 walkers from Cornwall and VSO is hoping to raisearound 40,000 in total from all its UK walks for its vital work in maternal healthcare.

For more information or to sign up for the walk visitwww.inhershoes.org.uk.Registration is 10 per person (this is non-refundable) and each walker needs to raise a minimum of 100.

For more information on VSO visitwww.vso.org.uk.

A local group who support the international development charity VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) is urging the people of Cornwall to get involved in VSOs In Her Shoes. This will be a fun and friendly charity walk open to everyone on Sunday 15th May, to help raise vital funds for VSOs maternal healthcare work in some of the worlds poorest countries.

Locals who join the walk can follow the examples of; the queen of daytime TV Lorraine Kelly (with her ITV morning show Lorraine), highly accomplished BBC Newsnight and News presenter Emily Maitlis, famous comedy writer and actress Miranda Hart (known for her award-winning BBC 2 sitcom Miranda) in personalising footwear for VSOs In Her Shoes. Some more famous faces turning their hands to designing shoes for the cause include; the UKs queen of soul singing Beverley Knight and British actress, presenter and national treasure Joanna Lumley.

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