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Outstanding Evening with Major Chris Brannigan

This week (14th April 2021) we were visited by Major Chris Brannigan, winner of the prestigious "Pride of Britain" award for his Barefoot March Across Britain.  Chris was invited to speak to the club about his work and determination to raise the funds required to find and develop a gene therapy for the rare disorder Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS) that his adorable daughter, Hasti, has.

Whilst impressing with the immense task he set himself (walking from Lands End to John O' Groats in BARE FEET!), Chris kept us all focussed on just why he did the march - Hasti.  CdLS is a rare genetic disorder, which currently has no cure or treatment.  But there is hope.  By raising enough money, Chris has been able to fund the development of a "proof of concept" therapy by The Jackson Laboratory in the US.

The next step (!) requires more money - clinical trials.  So, whilst the efforts and generosity of the many thousands of people who have so far contributed have got the Brannigans this far, MUCH more is needed.

And when you listen to a man for whom no effort is too much, you cannot help but be inspired to chip in!

Chris took questions from club members, together with a guest who attended from Calgary Rotary (one of the benefits of Zoom meetings!).  Rick, our guest from Calgary compared, Chris's efforts with the one other hero he had met, Terry Fox, whose run across Canada inspired people to raise money to fight cancer.  And he would "spread the word" as best he could, in Canada, for the charity "Hope For Hasti".

At the end of the talk, most members were almost speechless, in awe of Chris's efforts.  Thankfully, Claire managed to deal with the emotions and formally offer our thanks to Chris.  Southsea Castle Rotary club will do what it can to help Chris with his publicity and fund raising efforts.  And our love and best wishes go out to Hasti and the Brannigan family.

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