Extraordinary People

Dad battles ‘walking on glass’ hike to help daughter fight condition with no cure

Little Hasti, 8, is battling a rare genetic condition which currently has no treatment or cure.

There is nothing quite like a dad and daughter bond, and this father has gone the extra mile (literally) for his little girl.

700 miles to be precise.

Army Major Chris Brannigan embarked on a mammoth expedition from Land’s End to Edinburgh; otherwise known as the length of Great Britain between two extremities, beginning in western Cornwall at the end of the Penwith peninsula before heading north.

As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, Chris also decided to complete the hike barefoot, earning him the nickname of ‘the barefoot soldier’.

The method to Chris’ madness is because of young Hasti, who at just eight-years-old is battling a rare genetic condition which currently has no treatment or cure.

[Credit: Major Christopher Brannigan]

Hasti and her family now live in hope of gene therapy treatment for Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, a developmental disorder that affects many parts of the body and is characterised by slow growth leading to short stature; intellectual disability that is usually moderate to severe; and abnormalities of bones in the arms, hands, and fingers.

Speaking about his incredible mission, dad Chris said: “Hasti dreams of being a chef or a dancer when she grows up.

“I am doing this challenge to raise the funds needed to create a gene therapy treatment to change her fate and to give her the future she deserves.”

Prior to completing the walkathon last month, Chris hoped to raise £300,000 – yet he has since smashed his target by raising more than £560,000 for research.

[Credit: Major Christopher Brannigan]
[Credit: Hope for Hasti]

As he accomplished the final steps of his journey, he gave a short speech as he was greeted by well-wishers at Edinburgh Castle on July 12 following seven days of walking.

Chris said: “I’ve only done what anyone out there would have done for their child, so I don’t think I deserve any special recognition.

“If it was any of you, I would have been out there walking with you and helping you the same way you’ve helped me.”

Chris, whose persevered through temperatures in excess of 30°C, added: “It’s really, really hot. My feet are really bad. They are incredibly painful and it’s like walking on glass.”

The hopeful dad has also founded his charity, CdLS Hope for Hasti, to fund research before she reaches puberty when the mental decline is known to begin.

To support the cause and donate, click here: Hope for Hasti.


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