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Couple embark on 800km trek to raise funds for Frankston Hospital

Today Hazel McBride and Ian Birkinhead start the Camino de Santiago – an 800km trek from St Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago in Spain.

The couple, who are in their sixties, are doing the walk to raise funds for Frankston Hospital, after their experiences as patients.

In 2016, Hazel had a knee replacement and Ian had a hip replacement.

“Out of the thousands of patients passing through the hospital they made us feel that we were special and gave us the very best care,” says the couple.

“We thought, how do you show gratitude to a group of people who have given you a second chance at life? The walk has given us a chance to ask people to support us in our effort to support the hospital.”

Following their surgeries, Ian and Hazel both could not walk unassisted. However after extensive rehabilitation with Peninsula Health they are now ready to take on the Camino, just two years later.

“Thanks to the post-operative services supplied by Peninsula Health, we started exercises in our home,” explain Hazel and Ian.

“We didn’t want to waste the effort by the surgeons so we religiously followed the tasks set by the Physios.”

After seeing the Camino trek on TV, the couple made it their goal to recover from their surgeries and complete the hike.  

They have done plenty of training – walking at least five days a week.

“We do a short 7km walk, medium 12km walk and a 16km walk,” says the couple.

“We walk in all kinds of weather which helps us test our clothing, boots and stamina. We carry a back pack building up to the recommended 10% body weight so that we can replicate the conditions as much as possible.”

The couple expect the trek to take 6-7 weeks.

Good luck Ian and Hazel!

You can make a donation to their fundraising appeal here.