February 23, 2022 10.29 am

Stamford man with club foot to spell out Ukraine in charity walk

Stamford man will overcome his disability by walking for the Ukranians around the UK

A Stamford man with a club foot will walk 152 miles in six days to help raise funds and send humanitarian aid for people in hardship in Ukraine.

Dan Zenchuk, 37, was born with a club foot and underwent surgery to break his foot and stretch the tendons as an infant.

This enabled him to become a long distance runner in his teens and to take on marathons in later life. Recently, his calf on his club foot side, which is half the size of his other calf, and tendinitis, have stopped him running long distances.

Instead, Dan plans to walk through cities and towns whose first letters spell out “Ukraine”: Uppingham, Kettering, Rugby, Ashby de la Zouch, Ilkeston, Newark and Empingham.

He plans to walk from four to 12 hours per day, covering 36 miles on the longest day.

He starts on March 28 and finishes on April 2, while the clocks going forward will provide him with adequate lighting as most of his walking route is on roads.

Dan’s efforts have helped raise £3,200 already for humanitarian aid / Photo: Dan Zenchuk

Dan says he feels physically ready for the challenge, as he has faced marathons before, but mentally he is apprehensive, and hopes that he will enjoy some company along the way.

Dan recently joined a Facebook group called “Support Ukraine UK” which links Ukrainians from various parts of the country and all the proceeds from his fundraising will go to the group to be spent on equipment and supplies for those in need in the country, which faces an ever-looming threat from Russia to the east.

Dan explained his inspiration for the cause: “I was born in Peterborough to Ukrainian parents, with my grandparents originating from towns and cities close to Lviv, in the West of Ukraine – thankfully the remaining family there are therefore some way from the front.

“We have members of the appeal team based in Lviv who are receiving and helping distribute the aid the other end and of course keeping us up to date on the situation on the ground.

Dan, father of two daughters, runs a logistics company and his parents moved from Ukraine during the Second World War / Photo: Dan Zenchuk

“Ukrainians have had to live with this threat for the past eight years and our forefathers faced these struggles also, it has made Ukrainians a tough and resilient people – the general impression is that they remain calm whilst it feels the rest of the world are fearful on our behalf, the threat is very real but Ukrainians will defend their nation if the time comes.”

The father of two – who has helped organise relief efforts for Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire – said Support Ukraine UK has raised £3,500 in the past two weeks alone, with 500 kilograms of items donated by communities already shipped to Ukraine. Theses include thermals, blankets, medical supplies, first aid kits, basic sanitary items, protein bars and spanner sets for the repair of vehicles.

You can donate to Dan’s cause here.