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#436435 - 04/24/12 10:41 AM Rowan Garel prepares to “Walk Across Belize”
Marty Offline

Rowan Garel may have been born without the ability to see, but that certainly has not stopped him from looking for adventure and staring challenges straight in the face. The brave young thirteen-year old, who just last year made history by climbing to the top of Victoria Peak is now back in the spotlight and taking on a new adventure to raise awareness for blind or visually impaired children. On Thursday, July 12th, Rowan and his father Joe will hit the highways to “Walk Across Belize“. Together they will walk some 90 miles from the Belize border with Guatemala across the country all the way to Belize City arriving on June 16th, just in time for the 2012 BCVI Summer Camp. In doing so he hopes to raise double the amount he did last year to help support the BCVI in their work with children who are blind or visually impaired.

In his blog Rowan stated that:

“With the success of our climb at Victoria Peak last year and the local interest to join, we thought it would be perfect to ‘Walk Across Belize’ and be able to invite you all to join in on the adventure as we stride to help raise money to provide support for other children who are blind or visually impaired. Without your sponsorships the non-profit work that BCVI does on a daily basis will not be able to continue. Whether it’s by getting sponsored to walk, or simply making a contribution, we are grateful for your support.”

For more information on Rowan Garel’s “Walk Across Belize” contact the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired (BCVI) by calling 636-1130 or visit Rowan’s blog online at http://www.walkacrossbelize.blogspot.com/. You can also email csdairs@gmail.com for more information or to sign up!

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

#436439 - 04/24/12 11:04 AM Re: Rowan Garel prepares to “Walk Across Belize” [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
Rowen is an extraordinary child and deserves our help raising funds.
Belize based travel specialist

#436635 - 04/27/12 08:40 AM Re: Rowan Garel prepares to “Walk Across Belize” [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Remarkable Rowan Will Walk

Rowan Garel is only 13 years old, but he has already climbed Victoria Peak and now plans to walk across Belize. Those are difficult feats for anyone, but the most remarkable part for this standard six student's is that he has been blind from birth.

The thirteen year old along with his father Joe is planning a 90 mile walk from Melchor to Belize City. The goal is to raise $90,000 for BCVI and summer camps for visually impaired children in Belize.

It's not an easy road he's choosing to walk, but remarkable Rowan told us that once he puts his mind to it, he can do anything.

Joe Garel, Father
"We are trying to get some awareness for BCVI for the work that they do and at the same time raise some funds as Rowan mentioned they have lost quite a bit of funds over the last couple of years from agencies pulling out of the Caribbean and finding other places more in need than they think Belize is. We are trying to see if we can help fill that gap."

Rowan Garel
"My dad and I was just talking about things that we could do and he said how about a walk across Belize and I'm like ok, it's kind of interesting."

"We want to set it up in such a way that we arrive in Belize City for the opening of summer camp. This is not something that only my dad and I will do, it's like anyone can join in and if you want you can pitch in a little donation because we really need the funds."

"If you put your mind to something, more than half the time you could accomplish it and that's really a good feeling. Take Victoria Peak for instance - that was a really good feeling when you went through hell to climb that thing and then when you stand on that peak on the top you're like wow did I just do that!"

Robin Schaffer
"I guess you are aiming for that same wow feeling after this walk across Belize?"

Rowan Garel
"Yes, we would really appreciate as many people as possible to come out and walk with us. You don't have to do the whole thing if you don't want to. You can do like certain days or certain miles."

The walk will begin on the 12th of July and should end on the 17th. They plan to cover 18 to 20 miles a day and encourage all Belizeans to join the walk. Donations can be made through PO BOX 525, Princess Margaret Drive, or through the account number 71096 at the Belize Bank.

Channel 5

#440701 - 06/15/12 05:34 PM Re: Rowan Garel prepares to “Walk Across Belize” [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Rowan Garel, blind since birth, graduates elementary school!
Here is a sneak peek of his special day!


#442512 - 07/14/12 09:21 AM Re: Rowan Garel prepares to “Walk Across Belize” [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Rowan Continues His Walk Across Belize

14 year old Rowan Garel started walking from the Benque Viejo border to Belize City yesterday. Along with his family and supporters, he walked 13 miles and got to Esperanza.

That set things up for today when he'd have to make the biggest one day push: Esperanza to Belmopan, a distance of over 20 miles. He set out at 5:00 am and we caught him six hours later in Camalote.

He was tired, but still stepping smartly; here's how he looked:...

Jules Vasquez reporting
Through the majestic, rolling hills of the Cayo district - they appear as only a speck on the horizon, figures lost against the broad vista - a slender 14 year old, his friends and followers doing the impossible, the unthinkable - walking from Benque to Belize City.

Well-wishers greet them along the way with gifts and small contributions. Mugging for photos with the 14 year old - who after 20 miles in the unforgiving heat can still muster a smile for his fans. Walking through Camalote today - Rowan Garel was coming up on 20 miles. But - clutching unto his father Joe for direction - he was still keeping a brisk pace. The prospects of an entire summer programme are riding on these slender shoulders, so he made sure to keep hydrated with his mother Milagro taking a turn on his arm and coming across Roaring Creek Bridge up on the end of today's arduous trek - which ended at Guanacaste Park.

With the end in sight - just to show he could still pull it off - after twenty plus miles, Rowan broke into a jog. And still had the good grace to indulge us in an interview just as soon as he sat down on the roadside and took a drink.

Rowan Garel
"I'm exhausted but I am happy that this day is done."

"This is your second day of walking. How do you feel so far about your progress and about the support you've been getting?"

Rowan Garel
"I'm really happy for the support that we are getting. People are talking to us and coming, showing their support waving and we were getting some contributions as well."

Jules Vasquez
"What was the hardest point for you today?"

Rowan Garel
"The thing with me is that I will only stop if I am about to collapse. I really didn't want to stop although my feet were killing me."

Joe Garel, father
"Today we knew that this was going to be one of the longest drives, little hilly - just keep a pace and keep rehydrating him, Gatorade, water and we did stop for about 15 minutes because his feet was a bit sore in Teakettle. We stop about 15 minutes, took his shoes and massage his feet a bit and put some anti-inflammatory cream and he got up back and he said that he will spring it - I said to be careful, but he did well."

Jules Vasquez
"Rowan are you feeling sored from the first day of walking?"

Rowan Garel

Jules Vasquez
"The second day was harder than the first because of the soreness combine with the fact that you had to go over 20 miles."

Rowan Garel
"Yes, because yesterday it was like 13 miles and so I think I've done about 13 miles before when we went to Boom, maybe a little less but I've never walk 20 miles ever in my life so today was really painful but it's good to know that that's over and that's probably the longest day, so there is definitely a sense of triumph."

But the real triumph - he hopes -will come at the end of this walk:

Jules Vasquez
"Do you visualize that the children who will be benefitting from this at the summer camp?"

Rowan Garel
"Sometimes I just picture if I am successful, we could have a really good summer camp and they could get a really good education there."

Joe Garel, father
"People are blowing their horns when we pass and people are running out of their houses and they bring like 2 dollars and 5 dollars and that kinds of stuff, especially when we get closer to Belmopan you see more of that happening because the population is bigger."

And we wondered how this grueling walk compare to Victoria Peak?:

Rowan Garel
"I said before that this would be easier than Victoria Peak, but now I am not so sure."

And now after all those steps, what does he want most?

Jules Vasquez
"After a long walk like that Rowan what is the think you want most?"

Rowan Garel
"Apart from my bed I want to go in a pool and just soaked."

Rowan reached Belmopan at just before noon - meaning he'd walked for seven hours. Tomorrow morning he sets out at five to go from Belmopan to the Belize Zoo.

To contribute to his effort you can deposit to Belize Bank account number 71096 or drop donations off at BCVI. Or, you can donate online at http://www.bcvi.org/help.html

He hopes to raise one hundred thousand dollars with this year's walk - and so far he has raised $27,959.

Channel 7

#442657 - 07/17/12 08:27 AM Re: Rowan Garel prepares to “Walk Across Belize” [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Rowan Finishes His 92-Mile Walk

While most of us were unwinding this weekend - Rowan Garel, along with his family, friends and supporters were walking miles upon miles.

When we left him on Friday at noon - he was at the Guanacaste park in Belmopan - tired to the bone, but not nearly halfway done.

But impossible is nothing for this remarkable child - and he walked all weekend - through pain and heat - reaching his targeted destinations on both Saturday and Sunday.

And that set him up for a triumphant arrival into the city this morning. 7news was there, and here's how it looked:..

Daniel Ortiz reporting
A little after 8 this morning, when we caught up to the Rowan and his trekking companions, he was only a little over a mile away from his end point in Belize City. Keep in mind though, that he left mile 13 on the Western Highway, at 5 a.m. sharp.

He finished at the KHMH parking lot, right next to the BCVI Headquarters, where his supporters rushed in to greet him at the end of the 92 mile walk - a feat that can only be done with endurance and will-power.

But Rowan didn't just finish it right there. Like a well-experienced PR Officer, he greeted the media with energy, as though he had simply walked to the nearby shop and back.

Rowan Garel - Walked 92 Miles Across Belize
"It was painful, it was hard, it was difficult but now I really feel triumphant because I've made it and it's all over. But it was definitely worth it, we've had people supporting us, contributing, cheering us on and I am really glad that we had that much support."

We also asked him what the last stage of the journey was like:

Rowan Garel
"It was really long because I wanted to get there but the shower actually helped us stay cool and actually I had to wake up my dad because he was sleeping. I started getting a little cramped up but I stop and we stretch a little. It was more mental, it was long because you want to finish."

Rowan finished the entire 92 mile walk from the Benque border to Belize City with his entire family, but there were other people who went above and beyond in solidarity.

Rowan Garel
"They have Ms. Sheena, she came from Belize City, she took the bus almost every day down from the city to wherever we were, I really want to thank her for that. Joseph Gallagher, he came down from the states and did this with us. He also did some fund raising and the thing is that his family could have paid for his ticker but he was cutting grass and washing dishes to raise funds to buy his own ticket so that his family wouldn't have to pay for it, not everyone does that. My parents, they were really supportive and they helped me a lot."

And for the response, he also had only gratitude to show to the Belizean public who supported the effort.

Rowan Garel
"I've had people cheering me on, contributing, even if its $2, $5, $5 or $100, it doesn't matter. I really appreciate that. I just want to say thank you so much for your support. The contributions - if you haven't contributed, you could do so if you want, if you can't it's the thought that counts."

So, he has now completed a climb to the top of Victoria Peak, and now he has walked 92 miles - We asked him: how do they compare?

Rowan Garel
"Victoria Peak was definitely easier than this because with that you are resting, you have trees to lean on, but this was more rewarding because more people could join us, we could get support, people cheer us on, they are contributing - that was really nice."

The entire effort was a test of his will and endurance, but at the end of the day, all the funds raised is for the BCVI:

Rowan Garel
"We are the only organization is Belize that deals with blind or visually impaired people, so let's say something happens and they stop getting funding, we're just going to be left to drown in deep waters."

Joe Garel, father
"People go on family vacations. This is my family bonding-vacation kind of thing. It was nice - get to meet a lot of people that you don't normally meet and at the same time being able to do something that others can benefit from."

So, with these 2 difficult tasks behind them, everyone wants to know. What's the next challenge that Rowan and his family will take on?

Rowan Garel
"We are just looking at possible stuff, my dad wants to do Richardson Peak which is the highest peak, but I really don't know about that. He says he has never been there, so I don't know."

Joe Garel
"I always take on challenges whether for this or but its good if you can do it as a fund raiser but definitely we'll do something next year, we don't know when and we don't know what yet. We have a few ideas we are throwing around but it will be up to him."

Rowan hasn't decided yet what his next challenge will be.

Channel 7


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