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Thursday, 26 November 2020

CHARITY TODAY AWARDS

Man with Parkinson’s takes on staircase ‘double Everest challenge’

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ALEX Flynn, a father of three, from Oxfordshire has completed a marathon by climbing up and down his stairs to raise over £3,000 for Parkinson’s UK.

Alex, 48, completed 26.2 miles at his home in Wantage by taking the stairs 3,516 times. With 69,226ft of ascent, the challenge took Alex 2.3 times higher than Mount Everest.

He covered the vertical distance in just over a week for up to 12 hours a day, with breaks for sleep and meals. As a result of dystonia – a symptom of Parkinson’s that causes repetitive and involuntary muscle contractions – he was also forced to guide his right leg up most of the stairs.

The £3,166 that Alex has raised from the challenge will go towards an emergency appeal launched by Parkinson’s UK last month, which must raise £95,000 every week to deliver critical support to the Parkinson’s community.

Alex was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 10 years ago. Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition for which there is currently no cure. The three main symptoms of Parkinson’s are tremor, stiffness and slowness of movement. But research has identified over 40 different symptoms including problems with sleep and memory, and mental health issues.

Alex has not let Parkinson’s stand in his way. His love of endurance challenges has seen him raise thousands of pounds for Parkinson’s charities by taking part in marathons, triathlons and ultra-marathons all around the world. His ultimate goal is to raise £1 million towards finding a cure for the condition.

Alex said:

“With my Parkinson’s, this challenge was always going to be exceptionally difficult – the risks were very real for me.

“It was an incredibly tough experience but I was determined to get through it no matter what. It’s important to me to give back at a time when many people with Parkinson’s all around the UK are relying on the support that Parkinson’s UK provides.

“I hope I’ve inspired others to take on their own challenges, however big or small, to make sure their services can continue.”

Katherine Crawford, Director of Services at Parkinson’s UK, said:

“We are so grateful to Alex for taking on this incredible feat of endurance for Parkinson’s UK – his determination is truly inspiring.

“His efforts will make a real difference to the Parkinson’s community, which needs support from Parkinson’s UK more than ever before. We are adapting to the current crisis by boosting our helpline capacity, building the online Parkinson’s community and making sure people who normally receive face-to-face support continue to do so in new ways.”

To support Parkinson’s UK emergency appeal, visit: www.parkinsons.org.uk/donate

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