Gill takes on 84-mile walk in Neil’s memory
The Rougham widow of a Bury Free Press wine columnist is to walk the route of Hadrian’s Wall to finance an annual medical scholarship in his name.
Gill Courtier, 55, and her friend Sarah Truman are set to tackle the 84-mile walk over six days starting on June 2 to raise £1,000 in the memory of Gill’s husband, Neil.
Neil Courtier, 60, died on January 16, from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) which is an uncurable progressive scarring lung disease and Gill and Sarah want to raise money to help registrars at Papworth Hospital learn more about it.
Gill said: “I wanted to form a lasting legacy. There are 40 registrars training through Cambridge in chest medicine and only a select number will go to specialise in IPF and this fund could help them attend a conference in the U.S. and help move research forwards.”
The American Thoracic Society (ATS) conference is largest meeting for chest doctors in the world and new research and the latest advances are discussed there.
The Neil Courtier ATS Fellowship will help registrars attend and Gill hopes to raise £1,000 every year for it, starting with this walk.
She said: “It was Sarah’s idea to do something and I felt it was something that could help put me back together. It also felt good to remember Neil in some way.
“Around 4,000 people die from IPF every year and before Neil died of it I had no idea what it was, I believe it is a worthy fight to raise awareness for.”
Gill, who was married to Neil for 32 years, feels determined to help the cause, she said: “I know Neil would do the same for me in my position, he would fight to try to find answers as to why it had happened.”
Gill said she would like to do a walk every year and get more people involved, maybe doing a walk of the Cornish coast, as Neil was a proud Cornishman.
To donate, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/neil-courtier