On Sunday 12 June Connor Docherty took the final strides of his epic expedition, three years after being told he may not walk again.
The 19 year old who damaged his vertebrae in three places during a rugby game for his school, St Aloysius’ College, in 2008 took on the West Highland Way in a bid to raise money for the Murrayfield Centenary Fund who helped him in his recovery.
Connor, who now walks with a single crutch, and his physio, Eilidh Dorrian, braved the stereotypical Scottish summer weather along with friends and family in order to complete the challenge which raised over £7000. Connor said: “I am exhausted; keeping the walking up for an entire week was so hard but this is a great achievement. “I just can’t wait to do nothing; I think I will do that for the rest of the week. Eilidh will have to keep me going now.”
Connor’s wish to do nothing for the next seven days didn’t quite happen though as he was up bright and early this morning to continue his physio and commence his recovery. Eilidh said: “We are pretty drained and emotional but I think the highlight was just the achievement itself. There were tough times and there were amazing times when we all came together and really got behind each other. Walking isn’t really Connor’s forte so we are determined to find him something he wants to continue with and enjoys more. We are going to try cycling and skiing or snowboarding next and see how he gets on with them.”
The persistent wind and the rain throughout the week presented its fair share of challenges to the team and it meant, at times, that they struggled to walk more that one mile an hour. However through great perseverance and camaraderie they arrived at their final destination, West of Scotland RFC, where they were greeted by friends and family, ahead of schedule on Sunday.
Eilidh added: “We met people on route who had friends who had dropped out. I just don’t understand when someone like Connor is doing this how other people can drop out.”
The journey was also done in memory of the late Bill Hogg, administrator of the Murrayfield Centenary Fund, who played a key role in Connor’s recovery. Dominic McKay, Director of Communications and Public Affairs for Scottish Rugby said: “ Everyone at Scottish Rugby congratulates Connor, Eilidh and the rest of the team on this tremendous achievement. Connor is a truly inspirational young man.”
Money can still be donated to the fund at: www.justgiving.com/eilidh-dorrian