The longest-ever expedition to be mounted to raise funds for ME research will start at the beginning of April next year – when former British Army captain Ed Stafford and professional outdoor instructor Luke Collyer take on the world's second largest river.
They plan to take a year to walk 4,000 miles from the source of the River Amazon in southern Peru to the river mouth in Brazil without any support whatsoever.
They say of the walk: "No-one has ever walked from the source to the mouth. We aim to be the first two men to achieve this first." It has become clear from recent route planning that they won't be able to follow the line of the river exactly – because large parts of the river will be in flood, with water up to 15 metres deep in the flood plains. Courageous though they are, they are just not built to walk on water!
Ed's sister has had ME for over 14 years. Money raised from the walk will back The ME Association's plans to fund a study of tissue samples obtained from people with ME – in particular from the brain and nervous system. With funding, the ME Association can continue to seek scientific evidence that will show that this illness is a real and physical one.
Ed, aged 31, from Leicester, has already led expeditions to Patagonia, Borneo and Belize. He also worked alongside the United Nations in Afghanistan, where he advised on security, planning and logistics in the run-up to to the country's presidential elections in 2004 which returned Hamid Karzai as the country's first-ever democratically-elected president.
Luke Collyer, aged 35, from Crawley, led the Ginger TV expedition to Belize which saw Jack Osbourne – son of pop legend Ozzy Osbourne and his wife Sharon – turn from callow youth to a man.
The year-long walk will raise funds for five other charities, besides The MEA's Ramsay Research Fund. They are Rainforest Concern, The ABC Trust, Project Peru, Cancer Research UK and The National Outward Bound Trust UK.
Please sponsor the pair to raise money for the ME tissue bank, which will be a vital resource to researchers probing the physical nature and causes of ME.
Read about the expedition at their website Walking the Amazon
Sponsor them now for ME research