600km bike ride across the Alps – for a deserving and very personal cause

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Local girl Karla Boddy is undertaking an extremely challenging bike ride to raise funds and awareness for a rare and debilitating condition which has affected her sister Anne.  Marlow resident Anne Salinas has three children –  Hugo and Lucia at Great Marlow and Ava at Sandygate. Her husband Geoff runs their business, ‘The Green Parrot Casual Dining’ cafe in Maidenhead.

Guillain Barre Syndrome

Karla and Anne with their mum.

In September 2015  Anne Salinas was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome. GBS is a rare and serious syndrome which affects the peripheral nervous system.  As in Anne’s case it can start with something as seemingly as innocuous as a cold -and ultimately can end in full paralysis, losing the ability to move, swallow, talk, and importantly the ability to breath, so full ventilation is required. Unfortunately Anne was affected in this way, is currently on ventilation and in a specialist care unit. She has a long and steep road to recovery ahead. There is no immediate cure but the care and rehabilitation from the medical staff will be vital to her recovery.

About 80% of people who extract GBS go on to recover fully, but it can take a very long time. Some sufferers will succumb to wider issues contracted as part of being so poorly whilst others are left unable to recover properly.

This little known syndrome affects just 1,500 people a year in the UK and  the awareness and fundraising for such a terrible condition is very limited.

Karla’s challenge

karla2Karla is trying to do her bit to raise awareness and funding and has set herself the challenge of riding 600km  in 7 days across the Alps on a mountain bike in July this year. This ‘Transalp’ race includes over 17,500 metres of vertical ascent and at points she will have to walk and scramble carrying her bike!

Karla has always been a keen and successful sportswoman; firstly a junior rower at Marlow – originally getting into the sport whilst at Great Marlow School. She then went on to be a rider for the High Wycombe Cycling club from where she advanced to the British elite cycling scene and is now a rider for one of only three UCI registered women’s teams.

So, Karla is a highly experienced competitive road cyclist – but it is worth noting mountain biking is very different to road, and Karla has to get to grips with the technical and physical demands of the race. Karla told us “This really is a serious challenge for me, well outside my comfort zone – but  nothing compared to the challenge Anne is faced with.”

Supporting the GAIN Charity

Karla is aiming to raise £10,000 for the charity which underpins GBS (www.gaincharity.org.uk) . The charity has three aims; to raise awareness, offer support to families going through this and importantly to raise funds for research.

The support the charity offers cannot be overlooked; this is a dreadful syndrome which is life changing. Anne and her family are lucky to have a strong support network around them, but not all families who are affected by this condition have that same support and the charity goes someway to helping this.

How you can support

You can support and follow both Karla and Anne’s progress via a Facebook and JustGiving page.

If anyone would like to get in touch with Karla then either contact her via Facebook or directly to us at MyMarlow and we can pass your details on.






Article author: Paul Merchant

About the author: Founded MyMarlow.co.uk in its original version back in 2000 - yes the internet DID exist back then. Brought up in Marlow, went to school here, now has children at the same schools. Quite clearly loves all things Marlow - hence spending over 2 decades doing this!

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