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Monday, March 13, 2017

Grieving man taking on 481-mile triathlon challenge to help others affected by Parkinson's disease

March 13, 2017

Gary Firth is set for a 481-mile triathlon challenge in aid of Parkinson’s UK after recently losing his dad John to the disease

A MAN who lost his dad to Parkinson's disease last month is taking on a mammoth 481-mile triathlon challenge to help others suffering from the condition.
Gary Firth, from Leigh, claims there is not enough support available for families dealing with the effects of the disease that famously made boxing legend Muhammad Ali a shadow of his former self.
The 43-year-old says he struggled to find the help he and the rest of the family needed before his dad John died from health complications caused by Parkinson's at the age of 67.
But he is impressed with the work done at Parkinson’s UK and will be raising money for the charity with his 14-day challenge across the Leeds and Liverpool Canal starting on August 25.
Gary said: "I found there was very little support and there was no-one I could talk to about what I was really feeling.
“There was not really any support groups for me.
“My stepmum Sandy was devoted to my dad and really helped to care for him. She gave up a lot to be his carer and found it difficult.
“There needs to be more concentrated research done on treatment for Parkinson's disease and funding from the Government and local authorities to provide community groups for sufferers and their families."

John Firth catches his breath after finishing the Great North Run in 1993

John was a long distance runner who ran a leg with the baton in Bolton in the build up to the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
Inspired by his dad's passion for running, Gary has taken part in the Pennington Flash parkrun in Leigh for the past two years and completed a half marathon in Manchester in October.
He will be running a full marathon in Manchester on April 2 as he looks to build up his fitness for the challenge in August that will see him kayak from Leeds to Liverpool, cycle back to the Yorkshire city and then run back to Merseyside.
Gary said: “Dad was a prolific runner himself who was inspired by the great Ron Hill.
“At one point dad ran at least a mile a day for 11 years, three months and five days.
“A lot of my growing up involved supporting my dad or waiting for him to come home after runs.
“He was a remarkable person who raised a lot of money and did a lot for the community.
“He was always trying to do the best for us and we could not be more proud of him.”
Gary's challenge has been timed so that he can take part in the 5,000 metres Pennington Flash parkrun on September 2.

To make a donation for Gary’s canal challenge visit:

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