Fitness instructor treks 600 miles for dementia group
PUBLISHED: 14:48 29 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:21 29 October 2019
A mum-of-two who drew up a bucket list of 50 'to dos' to celebrate her half-century birthday has walked nearly 600 miles from France to Spain to support people with dementia.
Anita Lusher, 56, had already completed bucket list items including riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle, launching her own business, attending a pop concert and eating 50 foods she had never tried before.
But, keen to take on a bigger challenge, she decided to walk the pilgrimage route of Camino de Santiago, in northern Spain, in memory of her mother Pat, who died from vascular dementia last year.
Setting off from the French town of St Jean Pied de Port carrying a backpack containing clothes, toiletries and eating utensils, Mrs Lusher took 31 days to reach Santiago de Compostela, in northern Spain, raising nearly £3,000 for Sheringham Dementia Friendly Community (DFC) along the way.
"It was amazing and you never knew where you would be sleeping, it was sort of a case of 'is there any room at the inn?'," she explained.
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"It was mostly bunk beds with other walkers and there was sometimes up to 60 people in one room."
After completing the 500-mile route four days ahead of schedule, she went to meet her cousin at Compostela airport and was thrilled to be greeted by daughter Amie, 30, and son Adam, 27, who had flown out to surprise her on the final 100-mile leg of her journey.
"It was a really special way to finish what was definitely a life-changing experience," she said.
"I have not only dropped nearly two dress sizes, but doing the walk made me realise that life isn't about material things; it's about love and what you've got around you."
Mrs Lusher, who is now back to taking leisurely walks along the north Norfolk coast with her dog Vinnie, added: "I was really pleased to have raised so much for such a good cause, I think my mum would have been very proud me - I felt she was there with me there all the way."
Thanking Mrs Lusher for her efforts, Sheringham DFC chairman Liz Withington said: "We are enormously grateful for this incredible contribution, with the support of amazing people like Anita, Sheringham DFC can make changes that will help those with dementia to live well."
For more information about Sheringham DFC, visit the group's Facebook page.