Dave's Big Walk 2022

After leading the organisation of Big Walk events for many years, Dave Meadows - a Philanthropy Manager from the Campaigns and Alumni Relations team, is finally taking part in his first Big Walk.

Dave running wearing a t shirt that reads 'fundraising for genetic disease research'

The Big Walk has been a huge part of my life for the last 7 years. I’ve helped to organise the previous five walks and for the first time ever I am delighted to get the chance to take part myself and take a step back from the day to day running of the event.

I can’t tell you just how proud I am of the event and the impact it has had on so many people. 

For me the best part of the Big Walk is the sense of community that is created amongst everyone involved. Whether taking part as a walker or a marshal, people will get the opportunity to meet others from all different areas of the University. It’s a chance to step away from day-to-day work and to come together as one University to help raise money for an important University charitable cause. It is a great leveller as it doesn’t matter what grade you are paid and what job title you have.

For one day everyone is in it together.

The best feedback to receive is when people have made new friends and learnt about areas of the University they wouldn’t usually come into contact with. We’ve even had one couple who met on the Big Walk and went on to get married! 

What many people don’t see and fully appreciate is how an event like this helps to build the culture of charitable giving to a university. This University has tremendous research and inspirational academics.

Having hundreds of passionate individuals all sharing the story of our causes helps to spread the word of how good Sheffield is.

Every penny raised can really add value to our research and show our colleagues that we believe in them and their work. 

For me this is my chance to make an impact. I may not be skilled enough to carry out the medical research but by spreading awareness and raising money, I know I can do my bit to help others.

Dave Meadows

Big Walk participant 2022

Sponsor Dave
This year our cause is a powerful one. I’ve spoken first hand to Blair and Dustin Ward about their son Brooks. What they go through as a family is tough but they remain positive in the face of adversity. Even from the other side of the world they can see how amazing Sheffield is and have pledged to make a difference, not only for their son Brooks, but for every other child who is diagnosed with COL4A1 genetic disease.

When I am struggling on the walk I will be thinking of the Ward family and the other families that we are aiming to help.

It’s hard to not be excited by the work the University is doing in Genetic Disease Research and I think it’s truly fantastic that the rest of the University can stand up and play its part too, through events like the Big Walk. 

After 5 events, over 12,000 donations and £380,000 raised - I hope this year is the best ever.

I encourage everyone involved to get immersed in the event, chat to everyone you meet and keep spreading the word about the amazing research taking place right here in Sheffield. I wish everyone good luck with their fundraising. I’ll see you at the end for a well earned pint.

You can follow Dave's training and Big Walk journey on:

Twitter - https://twitter.com/d_meadows

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/meadows_d/

You can help rewrite the future for thousands of people. With your kindness today, you’ll help develop gene therapy treatments. And you'll bring hope to people suffering from rare and inherited genetic conditions.

Make a giftAlthough individually uncommon, collectively it’s estimated rare diseases affect up to 10% of the world’s population. Most affect children and many are fatal or severely disabling. 

Gene therapy also has potential to treat genetic forms of common conditions like MND, dementia and hearing loss. The impact of your help today could be huge.

About the appeal

The University of Sheffield community aims to raise £200,000 by 31 July to fund a state-of-the-art Bioreactor. This will help a leading team of scientists to produce gene therapy treatments for a number of genetic diseases. 

With your help, Sheffield’s researchers will be able to engineer bespoke genes to replace or silence faulty ones, in the form of a safe ‘viral vector’. The new Bioreactor will help accelerate their research into clinical trials with patients.

The team behind this pioneering technique has already shown it works. Professor Mimoun Azzouz has helped to turn his research into a successful treatment for babies with another genetic condition: Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Gene therapy really is saving lives and has the potential to do so much more.

Join an unstoppable community of donors

United in your passion for Sheffield and how it can shape the world, together you'll help bright minds thrive.