John goes for 1.5million steps in 100-day walking challenge

Lanarkshire accountant John Moffat has taken on a whole new counting challenge that will see him do more than 1.5 million steps for families impacted by Huntington’s disease.

The 55-year-old Chief Executive Officer and colleagues at Benson Wood + Co in Bellshill have been inspired to support Scottish Huntington’s Association by Lanark mum-of-three and charity trustee Gillian McNab, who is facing the onset of the disease

.John is leading the Benson Wood + Co fundraising efforts from the front by doing 15,000 steps – that’s around seven miles each day – for 100 days. Having just passed the halfway point of his challenge, he has already pledged to boost his total steps even further by tackling the 60-mile trek on the Speyside Way in the Highlands immediately afterwards.

By the end John will have completed nearly 800 miles, smashed through 1.5 million steps and raised hundreds of pounds in sponsorship and donations to Scottish Huntington’s Association.

“I’ve been learning about the journey Huntington’s families go through and every step on my own journey is more than worth it if it helps make theirs any easier,” said John, who lives in Airdrie with wife Yvonne and their beloved Border Terriers Angus and Jess.

“We’re busy planning events and thinking of new ways to raise money, including a race night and possibly a fundraising day,” added John.

“Huntington’s disease is not well known or understood by the wider public and we’re keen to do everything possible to change that. By supporting Scottish Huntington’s Association we’re helping to make sure that everyone impacted by this condition has the appropriate specialist care and support.
“In the meantime, I’ll keep on walking every day until I reach my target to raise as much money and awareness as possible. I’m also inviting people, including clients, to join me on my walks so they can learn about Huntington’s disease and its impact.”

Scottish Huntington’s Association Senior Fundraising Officer, Gemma Powell, who has already joined John on one of his early morning walks, said: “John came up with the idea of Walk 100 and has shown amazing commitment since our first visit to the Benson Wood + Co office.

“We are hugely grateful to him and his colleagues for all that they are doing to help raise awareness about Huntington’s disease and the vital funds needed to reach every family with support . Each step that John takes, and every pound raised by Benson Wood + Co, makes a real difference for Huntington’s families in Lanarkshire and across Scotland. We are proud to have the firm as charity partners.”

Huntington’s disease is caused by a hereditary faulty gene that damages the brain over time. People with the condition can eventually lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink and care for themselves.

The dreadful toll on families is compounded further still because the disease is genetic, meaning it is passed down from one generation to the next. Anyone with a parent who has Huntington’s is at 50% risk of also developing the condition.

“I’d read about Gillian’s fundraising on social media and in the local press and she offered to come to our office and talk to us about Huntington’s disease,” said John.

“Gillian explained how families, including her own, depend on the specialist services provided by Scottish Huntington’s Association and her story was so powerful that we all wanted to get involved.

“We have supported a number of good causes in the past and our staff are always determined to do what they can for the local community, however this is the first time we have committed to becoming a charity partner with an organisation.”

The partnership was launched earlier this year when Benson Wood + Co became headline sponsors of Dance 100, the flagship fundraising event held by Scottish Huntington’s Association each year in George Square, Glasgow.

A team of Benson Wood + Co staff also joined 200 family members and supporters at the 100-song dance challenge to hand out goody bags, meet families and supporters, dance for five hours, and help with the fundraising.

“The atmosphere was amazing and we had a great time showing our dance moves and raising awareness for such an important cause. Even tourists stopped to join in and take photos, it was brilliant,” said John.

“After that we wanted to keep the momentum going and that’s how Walk 100 was born. I’ve always enjoyed walking and now I go out every morning and sometimes later in the day as well to reach my 15,000 steps a day target.”

The Benson Wood + Co team hopes to raise a total of £10,000 during its year-long charity partnership with Scottish Huntington’s Association. Money is already being collected through the office coffee bar and a totaliser stand has pride of place in the firm’s new Bellshill office to encourage everyone, including clients and visitors, to donate.

Funds raised will help Scottish Huntington’s Association to provide specialist services for families through its nationwide network of HD Specialists, Youth Advisors and Financial Wellbeing Officers.

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