Brave Zara steps out on latest 'inspirational challenge'

Side to Side Charity Walk

Ian Brown and Zara Dyer at the start of the Side to Side charity walk. - Credit: Ian Brown

More than five-and-a-half years ago, Zara Dyer was fighting for her life in hospital in the USA.

But this week, after making a remarkable recovery from life-threatening injuries, she was bravely stepping out again for a new fundraising "challenge" - as she continues to help others.

Back in September 2016, Zara - then aged 29 - was working in the Caribbean as a scuba diving instructor.

She was making her way back to her home in Grand Cayman when she suffered a freak seizure at the wheel of her car that led to a horrific crash into a wall.

She suffered long-term brain damage, with her injuries - which included a broken neck, complete paralysis on her right hand side,  fractures to her shoulder, back and upper part of her body and six bleeds on the brain - so severe that her family warned they should fly out to see her immediately.

But after spending more than a month in hospital abroad, and having undergone an intensive programme of treatment and rehabilitation ever since - that saw her learn to swallow, walk and talk all over again - Miss Dyer is now embarking on another amazing challenge.

Zara Dyer in hospital, and completing the JOGLE challenge.

Zara Dyer in hospital, and completing the JOGLE challenge. - Credit: Ian Brown

After setting up the 3 Million Steps charity with her partner, Ian Brown, to support others recovering from brain injury, they set out on the JOGLE Challenge in 2019 - trekking from John O’Groats to Lands’ End across the length of the country.

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This proved so successful that a "second major fundraising event" started this week - The Side to Side Challenge.

Side to Side Charity Walk

The Side to Side Charity Walk is under way. - Credit: Ian Brown

From May 4 to July 2, Miss Dyer and Mr Brown, from Loddon, will walk West to East - almost 500 miles from St David's in Pembrokeshire on the west Wales coast to Ness Point in Lowestoft.

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With the aim of raising "one million pennies" for the Lowestoft-based registered charity 3 Million Steps the "inspirational" walk is now under way.

The 3 Million Steps charity poster.

The 3 Million Steps charity poster. - Credit: Ian Brown

Mr Brown said: "Following on from the JOGLE Challenge in 2019, we are determined to raise one million pennies to continue to support brain injury survivors and their families.

"The word ‘Challenge' is in the title for a reason.

"Not only has it been a challenge to organise, plan the route but as Zara is still recovering from her own traumatic brain injury and with everything that has happened over the last two years we didn’t think that we would be able to make it happen."

Proud dad Peter Dyer, a trustee of 3 Million Steps, said: "Zara’s charity was formed to help other brain injury sufferers and their special carers.

"Zara will always suffer some form of disability with walking poles but she keeps smiling.

"Monies raised will be used to improve the resources and support available to people with brain injuries in north Suffolk and just over the border into Norfolk.

"It is Zara’s way of saying thank you for the love and support she received."

To pledge support or follow the fundraising walk, visit www.3millionsteps.org