A GREAT grandmother is undertaking a three day canoe journey to raise awareness of a potentially life changing condition next month.

Eileen Alcock, 78 who lives at Clarence Park Retirement Village in Malvern, will take part in the supported challenge from Tuesday 7 to Thursday 9 May in aid of Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) and Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA).

Eileen suffers from both conditions with the symptoms including serve pain, headaches, stiffness and potential sight loss.

Her target is to raise £5000 for PMRGCAuk, the charity aimed at supporting sufferers of Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis; to date she has raised more than £1300.

Along with her husband, Ken, Eileen will paddle 30 miles along the Birmingham to Worcester canal, which will include 56 locks and 5 tunnels. The canal has one of the largest lock flights in Europe, the 30 Tardebigge Locks that climb around 230 feet over 3 miles.

Eileen said : “We are both very excited about this challenge. Planning has included walking along sections of the canal, that neither of us know very well, and working out where to stay and where to store the canoe overnight.”

Eileen concluded : “My condition is little known and understood both by the general public and in medical circles. Raising funds as well as raising hope amongst sufferers are both very close to my heart and I will continue to do as much as I can to help make positive changes where I can.”