Staff, students, alumni and friends of the University of Sheffield have raised £73,000 for lifesaving medical research after taking part in a marathon walk through the Peak District.
More than 300 people participated in the Great Walk 2022 and 3,345 people donated to support the University’s cutting-edge genetic disease research.
Funds raised will contribute to the £200,000 needed to build a bioreactor at the University’s new Gene Therapy Innovation and Manufacturing Center (GTIMC), located in the University of Sheffield’s Innovation District.
The new bioreactor will help researchers find new treatments for genetic diseases such as motor neurone disease (MND), dementia and other rare inherited diseases.
Professor Mimoun Azzouz, Chair of Translational Neuroscience at the University of Sheffield and Director of the GTIMC, said: “Gene therapies are pioneering medical advances. They have the potential to offer much-needed treatments for many rare and incurable diseases that cannot be treated by conventional drug compounds. I am very proud that Sheffield is one of the world’s leading gene therapy players.
Walkers traveled 50 or 30km through the Peak District, passing Ladybower, Stanage Edge and then along Redmires Reservoir before ending at University Arms. The first finishers arrived at the University Arms at 1:15 p.m. and the last crossed the finish line at 9:30 p.m.
Sarah Barnes, Big Walk event manager from the University of Sheffield, said: “This year’s big walk was a huge success. After many months of planning and hard work, I felt so proud to see the Great Walk come to life! I have been overwhelmed with the support received from University staff, participants, volunteers and vendors.
At the finish line, marchers received durable medals handcrafted at the University of Sheffield’s iForge, a 24/7 student-run workshop that is the first of its kind in a British university. After finishing, they were also able to purchase cakes made by Dr Rahul Mandal, the winner of The Great British Bake Off 2018, and were entered into a raffle to win a ‘flagship cake’ from the master baker, who won raised over £600. for research on genetic diseases.
Rahul Mandal, research associate at the University of Sheffield Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, said: “It’s a great cause, and I’m honored that the University asked me to get involved. Before that, I had made big cakes, but never so many pastry-style cakes and desserts. It was a huge amount of work, baking nearly 300 servings, including eclairs, gluten-free slices of cake, and vegan tartlets.
To learn more or to donate to the Genetic Disease Research Appeal, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/