Adam marks five years since diagnosis with 105-mile walk

Meet Adam Varlow who is challenging himself to walk 105 miles over March with his beloved pooch for MS-UK, that’s the equivalent of four marathons!

Adam, from Lytchett Matravers, and his cocker spaniel Lennon are taking part in the charity Big Purple Dog Walk, an annual event which sees hounds up and down the UK don purple bandanas and put their paws to the pavement to help their owners complete walking challenges all through March.

Adam’s trekking will be no mean feat – the month of March also marks five years since his diagnosis with multiple sclerosis (MS), which gives him issues with balance and coordination, among other things. “My symptoms came completely out of the blue and started with double vision and numbness in my arm,” he explains.

“It’s the unpredictability of the disease that makes things tough, as I can be fine one day but then the next experiencing fatigue, so it’s hard to make plans,” he says.

Adam chose MS-UK because the charity has been a big help to him since he’s had MS. “I know first-hand how great the services and support are having used them myself. It’s such a great resource. When I was first diagnosed, I just felt fear and panic. I couldn’t understand or grasp what life was going to be like. Would I get worse? Would I be able to go back to work?

“Since the diagnosis, it’s taken a while, but I manage my symptoms through exercise and diet as best as I can. I’ve learnt to better pace myself and spend time and energy on things that are most important. A big part of the challenge comes from managing fatigue and forcing myself to go for a sizeable walk.”

But now Adam and Lennon are looking forward to their walking mission. “Living in Dorset we’re lucky to have some fantastic walking places, and I plan to vary it as much as possible and update my supporters with some scenic pictures,” he says. “I’ve had Lennon for just over a year now and it’s great we can do something together to support the charity.”

It's not too late to join #TeamPaws

MS-UK’s Big Purple Dog Walk is completely accessible – each fundraiser sets their own challenge with their dog to complete in March. All dogs who sign up to take part receive their very own purple bandana so they can stomp the streets in style. And if they raise more than £100, each pooch will receive a beautiful rosette and a certificate for their achievement. All money raised will help MS-UK provide support for people affected by MS.

To find out more and sign up, visit Adam’s JustGiving page is