Bus driver walks 100 miles around Eastwood and Kimberley to help baby with rare brain disease
Bus driver Oma Shankar has spent hours walking around Eastwood, Kimberley, Smalley and Heanor to raise money after being moved by the struggles of a colleague – whose granddaughter was born with a rare neurological disorder.
Mr Shankar might have been driving buses for 38 years, but when he heard about a colleague’s granddaughter and her need to get to the USA for experimental medical treatment, he set off on a 100-mile sponsored walk.
Oma, who drives the Trentbarton Amberline service between Derby and Hucknall, has been tackling the 100 miles on his days off, walking from his home in Smalley to help eight-month-old Poppy Goodall who has the rare neurological disorder Canavan Disease.
Poppy’s family and their friends have been fundraising to get her to Ohio for life-transforming gene therapy.
Her grandfather Adrian Cadd has welcomed help from the Trentbarton family too.
Oma said: “I have known Adrian for many years and one day everyone was playing bingo to raise money for Poppy. I was watching and thought I could do something too.
“Poppy’s story touched my heart. I thought I’d ask people if they would like to sponsor me to walk 100 miles.
“When we were in lockdown, I walked miles every day and have run marathons before in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind.
“On my days off I get up at 4.30am or 5am and start walking. I’m very lucky to have Shipley Country Park close by and walk there and to Eastwood and Kimberley.”
Oma completed his 100 miles with an 18 mile walk near Bakewell and has raised more than £1,000 in sponsorship after doubling his initial £500 target.
His achievement comes hot on the heels of more than a dozen Trentbarton team members walking the H1 route from Langley Mill to Derby.
Oma said: “My feet are aching and my legs are aching, but we have to make sure we get this young girl where she needs to be.”
Adrian said he was bowled over by Oma taking on the challenge.
He added: “Oma is an amazing man, and we are truly moved by what he has done for Poppy.”
The Helping Poppy fundraising website page is at gofundme.com/f/HelpingPoppy.