PHOTO CAPTION: Bernie & April Hester, known on the trail as Mule & Inchworm (photo courtesy of Bernie Hester)
After 2 Years of delays due to COVID-19, on March 17, 2022 a Beaufort, SC husband and wife team comprised of Bernie and April Hester — known on the trail as Mule & Inchworm — will begin the journey of a lifetime.
They will be attempting to thru-hike the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail traveling from Georgia to Maine while raising awareness for multiple sclerosis. A thru-hike encompasses completing the entire 2,200 miles within 12 months, traversing over mountains, trails, cities and roadways.
April, who has multiple sclerosis, is hoping that her efforts — dubbed the “Finish MS Hike” — will bring much-needed awareness to multiple sclerosis and can help and inspire others afflicted with this incurable disease.
April is just one of the approximately 400 new cases of multiple sclerosis diagnosed each week, contributing to the more than 1,000,000 people in the United States living with this disabling neurological condition. While most individuals are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, multiple sclerosis can be developed at any age.
Over the past 3 years the couple has thru-hiked the 500-mile Palmetto Trail in South Carolina four times and the rugged remote 77-mile Foothills Trail traversing the South Carolina mountains twice to prepare for this upcoming hike.
According to Suzette Anderson of the Palmetto Conservation Foundation, although thousands of individuals hike the Palmetto Trail each year, very few attempt to thru-hike the trail. This valiant effort combined with the debilitating physical effects of multiple sclerosis are a few reasons why April and her husband Bernie have been recognized as Trail Ambassadors by the PCF.
“Bernie and April are an inspiration as they tackle a thru-hike while raising critical awareness for MS. Their personal story will inspire others facing life challenges and is a story of overcoming obstacles. A thru-hike is always an incredible adventure and is no easy feat.”— Natalie Cappuccio Britt, Former Executive Director for PCF
“While hiking 2,200 miles would be a challenge for anyone, April will face many physical challenges throughout because MS affects the central nervous system. To complete this will be such an accomplishment and without a doubt, shows the fighter in April and what an inspiration she is, especially to those living with MS.”— Carly Arnold, Coordinator of Fundraising Support for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
For those interested, the couple is encouraging others to follow along with them on their adventure. They will be sharing the adventure real time on the following social media sites, according to a media release:
Trail journals: www.trailjournals.com/muleandinchwormAThike
A map showing their progress and location: https://share.garmin.com/OurATAdventure
These connections will allow you to follow their progress, send them encouraging messages, read about their journey and gain insight as they face and conquer challenges.
[Source(s): Bernie Hester, PR Newswire]