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Jul 16, 2012

Rowan Garel completes 92 mile walk for charity

The following is an inspiring story about fourteen year old Rowan Garel. Born blind, Rowan has already climbed to the top of Victoria Peak. Today he accomplished another feat; he walked over ninety miles to raise much needed funds for a summer camp for children who are blind and visually impaired. Rowan started his walk across Belize on Thursday at the Benque Viejo border and over the last four days, despite the heat, soreness and tired feet, he continued to walk along the Western Highway to raise awareness and funds for this vulnerable group. Today, Rowan and his supporters completed their journey to much applause. News Five was at the finish line and Andrea Polanco reports.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Walking into the parking lot in front of the BCVI, Rowan Garel and his support group, including two friends from the U.S, along with his mother, Milagro and Dad, Joe Garel, walked triumphantly to the finish line of the ‘Walk Across Belize’ initiative. With the BCVI flag in hand and the cheers of supporters on the sidelines, Rowan made his ninety-two mile walk in a little over four days.

 

Rowan Garel

Rowan Garel, Walked Across Belize

“I’m really glad that it’s over but it was definitely worth it. I mean we had people supporting us, contributing, cheering us on and much support.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Would you do it a second time?”

 

Rowan Garel

“I’ll give you a maybe.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“A maybe, why is that?”

 

Rowan Garel

“Victoria Peak is definitely not right; this maybe but Victoria Peak was easier than this thing.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“To see Rowan reach his finish line; achieve his goal.  What did it feel like for you as his father?”

 

Joe Garel, Rowan’s Father

“It felt good and I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think he could. I knew he could. My wife, on the other hand, she surprised me because she really didn’t work out too much for this and I didn’t think she would’ve done it. I mean Rowan, it’s no doubt, there is some weariness; but he is pretty active.”

 

Joe Garel

Rowan’s Walk Across Belize aimed at raising one hundred thousand dollars for the BCVI Summer camp and he says all the contributions received will be for a special cause, one that is near and dear to him.

 

Rowan Garel

“Definitely, I’ve had people cheering me one; contributing, even if it’s two dollars, five dollars, ten dollars, a hundred dollars; it doesn’t matter. I really appreciate that and this is really touching because we’re the only organization in Belize that deals with blind or visually impaired people so let’s say something happens and they stop get funding, we’re just going to be left to drown in deep water.”

 

The group left out at Hattieville this morning after six. By nine they had made their way into the city and Rowan says that today’s walk differed from the last four days of his journey.

 

Rowan Garel

“Today was easy; I mean well relatively easy I should say. Okay, granted my legs feel like they are about to drop off but it’s over, so that’s good.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Okay, Rowan, the last thirteen miles that you did today right, what was it like physically?”

 

Rowan Garel

“Physically, I mean I started getting a little cramped up. I stopped and we stretched a little. But it was more mental, it was long because you want to finish.”

 

Joe Garel

“There were definitely moments in each day, I have to say, and anybody goes through it when you do endurance sports and so on; you know you get a blister, you get chaffing, muscle cramps and he went through all of that just up to when he got here when he goes home he is going to lose a toe nail but that is the kind thing that you go through when you endurance running or walking or that kind of stuff.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, Joe just share with us some of the things you said to him that probably helped to motivate him?”

 

Joe Garel

“To be honest, he needs no motivation he enjoys being out here and he enjoyed being out there listening to the birds and likes meeting people. One thing I have to mention is that we met one young guy from Belmopan that walked along with us, this guy, he’s twelve years old and he was walking with us and  said, ‘you know Rowan, this is the first and last time I’ll probably meet you so we have to talk.’ Little later he goes on and took a good look at Rowan and says, ‘ you know you and your stick famous.’ That cracked us up, both me and Rowan, things like that keep yuh nuh.”

 

The journey, he says may have started with his step but he finished it on the shoulders of many others.

 

Rowan Garel

“I want to thank Ms Sheena; she did it with us, the whole thing. She would take a bus from the city and then walk with us, I really appreciate that. Joseph Gallagher, he was raising some funds in the states and I really appreciate that as well and he did the whole thing. Paul Paytus, he also joined us again from the states and my parents, they were really supportive and they helped me a lot.”

 

After spending the last four days raising awareness, Rowan says some much needed R and R is in order.

 

Rowan Garel

“We’ll probably just sit down for a while somewhere and put our feet up and then hopefully, I’m really hoping for this, we could just go in a pool and soak.”

 

So, what’s next for this young, brave boy?

 

Rowan Garel

“We are just looking at possible stuff. My dad wants to do Richardson Peak which is the highest peak, but I really don’t know about that.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So now Rowan mentioned Richardson’s Peak?”

 

Joe Garel

“[laughs] Ih di leak out pon me but we have a number of things tossing around nothing set yet that’s just one idea we’ll see how it goes. You’ll know in due time.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

The final tally will be announced next week, but for now we know that around thirty-eight thousand dollars were raised this morning.

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2 Responses for “Rowan Garel completes 92 mile walk for charity”

  1. Storm says:

    Congratulations to an impressive young man for an inspirational effort.

  2. MadDOG says:

    The best news ever for this weekend, i couldnt be with them but i am so happy that we have advocates in Belize.. Good example for those criminals . LOVE and Hugs to those who try…

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