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[p][b]David's 20919 Walk - to raise funds for The Brain and Spine Foundation[/b][/p][p]David Chennells has successfully completed a sponsored walk in Harlow town centre for the past two years, and plans to do the same this year.[/p][p][br][/p][p]David's story [/p][p]Imagine that you’ve studied for six years, sacrificing your social life to dedicate time to your dream of becoming a solicitor. To support yourself, you do various part-time jobs along the way, and dedicate yourself to the demanding routine of study, exams, lectures and research. Finally, you make it to your goal, and qualify.[/p][p]Not long after, a catastrophic event changes all your plans. You have no say in the matter, no choice. Your plans, your health, your life changes beyond recognition, in a moment.[/p][p]This happened to David Chennells more than twelve years ago. In a split second, which he cannot even remember, a massive bleed to his brain, altered David’s life. On his way to work, where he was a newly-qualified solicitor, David collapsed in the road. He was twenty-six years old, fit and healthy. The cause, his family later discovered, was an AVM.[/p][p]AVM stands for Arteriovenous Malformation. It is a tangle of abnormal and poorly-formed blood vessels (arteries and veins). They have a higher rate of bleeding than normal vessels. AVMs can occur anywhere in the body. Brain AVMs are of special concern because of the damage they cause when they bleed.[/p][p]The following months were difficult for David, his family and friends. Extensive brain surgery. Long stays in different hospitals around the country. Then, months of rehabilitation, and finally, a new life, learning to speak, walk, and become independent again.[/p][p]It was a long journey with much frustration, some setbacks, and many obstacles on the way. But David is determined and positive – he was not going to give in. From the early days, when he lost his language and mobility, to the busy and committed life he leads today, David has made incredible progress. Not only does he live independently, David also gives to his local community. This takes the form of volunteering at the Harlow branch of CAB, and at the Partridge Road adult learning centre. [/p][p]When not giving his time to such great causes, David heads to the gym, where he pushes himself to achieve a high level of fitness. Also, to make sure he can maintain his mobility, David goes on regular walks.[/p][p]His walking has become important. There had been a time, in the months following his surgery, that David’s family were unsure that he would ever walk again. Gradually gaining strength and, with the help of intensive physiotherapy, and a special device to stimulate his right leg, David took his first steps. There’s been no holding him back since.[/p][p]On the 10th anniversary of his AVM, David completed a mile-long walk through Harlow town centre. Starting and finishing at the Water Gardens, the event was a joyful occasion. It was wonderful to see him achieve his target, with cheering, applause, as well as a few tears at the end. Robert Halfon, MP, also attended the event, congratulating David on completion of his great achievement.[/p]