The colleagues of Luca Antifora, pictured, will walk from Luxembourg to London to raise money for his Exoskeleton, enabling him to walk again
Hardy hikers march from Luxembourg to London to help co-worker who was paralysed from waist down
Staff at Vodafone Luxembourg are going more than the extra mile to help a paralysed colleague walk again as they hike through rain and snow from Luxembourg to London.
Co-worker Luca Antifora lost the use of his legs following a serious cycling accident while on secondment in Qatar in 2015. Two years later and he is learning to walk again with the aid of an Exoskeleton.
Antifora hopes to purchase the equipment to regain some of his independence but also to compete in sports competition. His colleagues proposed the hike to help raise money and cover the costs at a company meeting where Antifora demonstrated the technology.
“It was so inspiring to see him using this technology. We saw how difficult it was to use but how determined he was to learn to use it to change his life in future. Then came the realisation of the cost of the equipment,” Vodafone co-worker Kim Hurst told Delano on 5 December.
A team of 30 hardy hikers will set out from the Kirchberg Vodafone office at noon on Friday for Steinfort, along with other colleagues and Antifora, who will walk with the aid of the Exoskeleton. The walkers will then split into four teams, each of which will cover different stages of the distance between Luxembourg and London.
“The key stats are we will cover 150 kilometres over five days, which is about 37.5 kilometres per day. More importantly, it’s about 7 or 8 hours of walking per day,” Hurst explained. The walkers will spend each night at the same location. On Monday, they will meet at Calais and cross the Channel and on Tuesday they expect to arrive at the Vodafone office in London for 4pm where Antifora will meet them.
Hurst said the walkers were apprehensive about the weather--snow has been forecast--but upbeat that through their gesture they could make a real difference.
Antifora “is so determined. He talks about doing Ironman competitions and marathons,” Hurst said, adding: “One of the reasons Vodafone wants to help him is because he’s not only doing it to change his life and that of his family. But he’s doing it to push other people further and let them know their lives don’t have to be changed completely by these kinds of disabilities.”
The goal is to raise €50,000 and the Vodafone Foundation has agreed to match any funds raised. At the time of publishing, they were over halfway there.