Stephen Carty is best known for his coaching skills, particularly for basketball in south Donegal, but for the past 16 years he has developed another passion - all at the same time raising money for MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Ireland.
He started on the Great wall of China and over the years has been to India, South Africa, Tanzania, Peru, Nepal and Cuba for something that just seemed to take on a life of its own.
Stephen lives wife Geraldine in Tully, Donegal Town and both have been involved with the local Bluestack Ramblers for over two decades. And being a Bundoran native, he has the benefit of being equally well known throughout the region, with a wit that comes from growing up in the West End (of Bundoran).
Stephen told the Democrat: “I will be treking in North Thailand for MS Ireland. There will be a group of approximately 30 people going. Before I leave I hope to raise about €5,000. My Aunt died some years back of MS and I was flicking through the paper one day and I came across this walk to China in 1995 and I thought this would be a great way to see the world, while raising valuable money for charity at the same time.”
He admits that it has been a long time since he first tentatively walked into the Democrat offices 16 years ago and asked this reporteron on how to get some publicity for the forthcoming walk on the Great wall of China, but the buzz is still there.
“Little did I know then that i would still be doing these walks, so many years later. I suppose it is a great way to see the world and I have been happy to raise the money over the years. It is also a great way to get into shape as the average day is about 20 miles speard over 9-10 days, so you need to keep in shape.”
A couple of years ago, Stephen was given a special presentation of a hiker’s lamp to acknowledge the money that he has raised over the years, which is somewhere in the region of €40-50,000.
He added modestly: “I am not trying too hard this time. I ran a couple of jamborees over recent months and any money I received, I put it towards the trip. Then I decided to come up with something a little different, so I opted for a duck race and tickets can be bought at €2. The event is planned for September 18th, but he has yet to decide whether it will be held at the pier in Donegal town or the Brook in Ballyshannon. It will be weather and tide dependent, but if a real success, I might even hold one on both places!
Based on Stephen’s dynamism, you can be sure that there will be plenty of ducks wadlling to the finishing line that day.