‘Gutless’ kayaker crosses the finish line


St Mark’s Hospital patient and keen kayaker Justin Hansen has crossed the finish line after his gruelling 250 mile canal marathon.

Justin was joined by four friends on the kayak trip along the country’s canal network from Manchester to London to raise money for the Harrow based St Mark’s Hospital.

The team have taken 20 days overcoming the many obstacles, including 166 locks and dozens of pubs!

At the finish line he said: "Thanks to everyone who has supported me. I could not have done it without all their help. I am now looking forward to celebrate with a hot shower and a curry."

The start and finish of the kayaking adventure were chosen carefully as they are close to the largest and most specialist intestinal failure units in the country at Hope Hospital in Salford, Manchester and St Mark's Hospital in Harrow, London.

Justin suffers from Crohn’s disease and hopes the trip will help to raise awareness about the condition. He has had most of his digestive system removed due to the disease and is called the trip a “gutless kayaking adventure”.

It is estimated that there are 60,000 Crohn’s disease sufferers in the UK with 150,000 sufferers of inflammatory bowel disease and more than 38,600 patients diagnosed with bowel cancer every year.

Justin said: “The intestinal failure research being carried out is essential for the many people who suffer from intestinal conditions including, bowel cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and Colitis. As a result of this research there will be medical advances for patients with many of these conditions in the future and new solutions provided by the growth of human tissue and transplants will be possible."