[A] Keswick man who lives with multiple sclerosis (MS) is aiming to raise more than £2,000 for the MS Society by cycling to Sweden.
Duncan Booth, a 46-year-old father of three who lives with secondary progressive MS, will begin his epic journey on 25 June.
Together with wife Yvonne, 43, Duncan organises the annual 10in10/5in5 hiking challenge in Cumbria. Unable to walk long distances, each year Duncan takes on a different challenge. This year will be his toughest yet, cycling 1,200km to Gothenburg for his cousin Jamie’s wedding on 8 July.
Duncan and Yvonne created the 10in10 challenge in 2011 after Duncan, an avid rock climber and alpinist was diagnosed with MS. They wanted to do something positive, and have raised £250,000 in five years for the MS Society.
Duncan was diagnosed with MS after experiencing difficulty walking. His legs had become heavy and uncomfortable: “Friends would say, Dunc, you don’t half walk funny. I’d had thyroid problems and I put it all down to that.” Duncan says he hopes his challenge will help fund research into new treatments for the condition:
“It would be lovely to have something to stop the progression of the condition and reverse the damage MS does to the central nervous system. I’m not doing it for me – I’m doing this for the next generation. That’s what it’s all about.”
MS is an unpredictable condition that affects more than 100,000 people in the UK. It’s different for everyone, but is often painful and exhausting and can cause problems with how you walk, move, see, think and feel.
Duncan uses an electric bike, which he says has given him a new sense of freedom: “Everything I do is uncomfortable, but when I’m on my e-bike it’s not uncomfortable. It’s changed my life completely.”
He says training has been tough but rewarding: “Electric bikes are hard work; I’m shattered after a day. But I’m looking forward to seeing new countries and doing something different; it’s going to be like the old days. And hopefully I’ll get to Jamie’s wedding on time!”
Simon Moran, area fundraiser for the MS Society, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Duncan for taking on this challenge. There are 100,000 people living with MS in the UK, and the money he raises will help fund innovative MS research to find more treatments and to one day stop MS.”
Sponsor Duncan at: www.justgiving.com/DuncanBooth
Find more information about MS or the MS Society at www.mssociety.org.uk. The MS Society also has a free helpline – 0808 800 8000.