WHEN a work colleague was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, big hearted Redditch fund raiser Rob Oliver knew there was one thing he could do – get on his bike.
And that’s exactly what he is going to do when he and two friends – ‘Team Deadlegz’ – saddle up for the ultimate fund raising challenge – cycling from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in just ten days.
It means covering just under 100 miles a day and to make it even tougher, they’re doing it the hard way, starting in Cornwall, an alarmingly hilly county, before heading north west through the Midlands to Scotland.
“We’ll be aiming to do about 100 miles a day, less to start with as that will be by the far the worst part,” said Rob, a married father of one.
The original idea had been to do the ride for Acorns Childrens Hospice, the British Heart Foundation and Parkinsons UK, as a friend’s mum suffers from the condition.
However after their colleague was struck down with MND the trio decided on a change of emphasis and to support Parkinsons UK and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
“It’s not looking great for our colleague, he’s already lost 85 per cent movement in his arm and we felt we had to do something,” said Rob.
“These are two charities close to our hearts, two awful diseases that as yet have no cure.”
The IT worker from Wirehill, who tips the scales at 17-and-a-half stone has been cycling for about a year and has already raised thousands of pounds through his pedalling activities.
Last year Rob, a musician, rode the ‘Mad Summer Hare Sportive’ to raise money to treat John Johnson, formerly of UB40 and Simply Red, who developed an aggressive form of gall bladder cancer in 2015.
And before he got on his bike he did the Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for Acorns Children’s Hospice, Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the Foort Foundation which aims to raise money for pioneering cancer treatment.
On the End to End he’ll be joined by long time friends Matt Wheeler and Jonathan Dicks, an experienced cyclist and the team’s expert.
They’re hiring a motorhome at their own expense to keep accommodation costs down and this will be driven by Matt’s 70-year-old dad Pete.
“We have a target of £10,000 and are currently at about £2,500 s owe need as much help as possible to raise awareness of these diseases and to raise more money!” said Rob.