Carer walks and hikes Wicklow to raise awareness of chronic pain

Carer walks and hikes Wicklow to raise awareness of chronic pain

By Aideen O'Flaherty

THE CARER of a woman with the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia organises walks and hikes around scenic locations in Wicklow to raise awareness of his partner’s condition, with a family nature walk taking place this week.

Blessington man Brian Phelan, 45, set up Extreme Fitness Ireland after he became a carer for his partner Jo Allen, 42, when she was diagnosed with the debilitating illness four years ago.


Jo had previously worked as an ICU nurse, but Brian said that she “went downhill quickly” and was wheelchair-bound within six months of being diagnosed with the illness.

Brian added that when he left work to care for Jo he regularly went on walks and hikes with their four-year-old son Sam, and that this developed into a group initiative where Brian invited more families, hikers and runners to get involved.

Brian told The Echo: “I set up Extreme Fitness Ireland to help others, the main objective is to give a voice to people who suffer from chronic pain illnesses.”

A variety of activities are organised by Brian to appeal to everyone, including hiking, running, gentle walking and family nature walks, where the children who attend get a chance to see nature first-hand and to explore the hills and fields with their families.

Brian said: “Our hikes are always geared towards whoever comes on the day, we get out together and we help each other – we set an achievable goal for everyone.

“We all look after each other, and we look after each other’s kids [during the hikes]. It’s a group effort.”

He added: “We learn a bit about bushcraft and about trees.

“We also do a lot of rubbish collections around the lake. Because we use the area, we always feel it’s important to give back to the environment.”To find out more information follow Extreme Fitness Ireland on Facebook.

Share This