Martin McMullan, a retired family GP from Lisburn, County Antrim is set to walk the famous 120km Camino pilgrimage in his driveway before his 58th birthday next week.
The father-of-five was diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer (myeloma) in 2012 just after his 50th birthday which makes Martin on the highly vulnerable list, so during this pandemic Martin is living in his garden ‘shed’, sheltering from his wife and three children who are living in the house.
Martin is a member of St John's Rambling Retirees Walking Club, he has been part of a group which is walking the French Camino, with the next pilgrimage trip due to take place next year. Martin also walks regularly with St Patrick's Parish Walking Group in Lisburn.
Plans to walk the ‘Irish Camino’ around the Boyne Valley this summer have been affected by the current Coronavirus pandemic. However, one night on a Zoom call with siblings, while drinking a glass of Spanish Rjoja wine, he decided to complete the next stage of the Camino Francais in his driveway.
Martin plans on doing the walk just as he would if he was doing the real thing - only stopping when he would have reached a village. He has his guide book to keep him on track of where he’s going and what churches he would be passing on route. He will be continuously updating his Just Giving Page with his progress
Martin is undertaking the walk to raise money for Trócaire. He had targetted raising £500 but has managed to raise over £13,000 in just a couple of days.
Caoimhe de Barra, Trocaire's CEO, said, "This is an absolutely amazing undertaking by Martin. We are so lucky to have supporters that like him who go the extra mile, in this case quite literally, to support our work in the developing world. Our programmes overseas need your support more than ever. The Coronavirus is now present in all the countries we work in, including some of the poorest countries in the world. We have seen how this virus has stretched Europe to its limits. Can you imagine the devastation it could cause in countries with no resources to fight it?
"The people your donations support overseas are among the poorest people in the world. They live in communities with no hospitals, no ventilators and no way to keep themselves safe. Our focus in the weeks and months ahead is to do what we can to protect them. We must stop the Coronavirus from infecting the poorest people in the world.
"Here at home we have taken difficult but necessary steps to keep people safe. As a community, we have rallied together. We must also rally together as a global community to protect the most vulnerable. Trócaire will do just that in the difficult days that lie ahead. We are proud and grateful for Martin's support and the support of many others like him who stand in solidarity with the communities we work with overseas."
You can donate to Martin's 'Camino walk' on his Just Giving page.
Thursday 30th April - sets off from ‘Logrono’ to ‘Najera’ (28.9km)
Friday 1st May - ‘Najera’ to ‘Santo Domingo de la Calzada’ (21.3km)
Saturday 2nd May - 'Santo Domingo' to 'Belorado' (22.4km)
Sunday 3rd May - 'Belorado' to 'San Juan de Ortega' (24.2km)
Monday 4th May - 'San Juan de Ortega' to 'Burgos'. (26.1km)
Tuesday 5th May - arrive in ‘Burgos’ for his 58th birthday