Survivor steps out in faith

Shaanaaz de Jager

CANCER survivor Russell Kearney plans to trek, accompanied by his dog, Kei, along South Africa’s perimeter at the end of the month. They will start their 6000km journey on February 28 and Kearney plans to finish within 14 months.

The walk will form part of his autobiography, Keep Walking Inspired by Faith, Hope and Love.

Kearney, who had skin cancer, has done similar walks in the past, but with many delays. The book will highlight his travels and he aims to self-publish about 20000 copies.

Kearney, of Sherwood, has also pledged 50% of the book sale proceeds to Port Elizabeth’s Animal Welfare Society and Birds of Paradise bird sanctuary near Plettenberg Bay. “I left chemotherapy more than a year ago. I feel no ill effects. When I left chemo, I left everything in God’s hands,” he said.

He walked from Namibia to Mozambique in 2011 in aid of Save-a-Pet and Age In Action. “There are always dangers on a trip like this. I ended up with tick fever once and had cancer in my ear – a piece of my ear had to be cut, but it was not malignant.”

Kei is a cross between a pit bull and a ridgeback. The dog was born in Port St Johns and has escaped death twice – once at birth and then two months later, when he had Parvo disease.

“This journey is a mental struggle, but I have put my faith in God,” Kearney said.

“I want to create awareness of my book.

“This walk will be the last leg of my journey.

“We’ve got the most beautiful coast in the world, but I am also looking forward to Mozambique and St Lucia beaches.

“I am also looking forward to the inland nature.”

Kearney, who normally packs light, said he would pack dog pellets and tinned food for Kei.

He was nearly set for the long journey, he said.

“I need a new backpack and cellphone, and someone who can help me load pictures and comments of our journey onto my Facebook page.”

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