After the Atlantic - new 27,000-mile challenge

Mammoth challenge: Steve Hedges is raising money for research into MND
Mammoth challenge: Steve Hedges is raising money for research into MND
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A father-of-two whose wife has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is taking on a gruelling 27,500 mile challenge to raise money for charity.

Steve Hedges, 51, who lives on Claylands Caravan Park, Garstang, recently rowed the equivalent of the Atlantic to raise money for Help for Heroes.

This time, however, the challenge is bigger and the cause more personal.

Steve’s wife Kathleen, aged 55, was diagnosed with MND in 2010.

To raise awareness of the disease, Steve will cover 27,500 miles – equivalent to a round-the-world route – by running, rowing, swimming, walking or cycling.

His virtual route starts in Warrington, takes in five continents and stops in 24 countries.

Steve will complete the distance using gym equipment at his home, and hopes that, if he can maintain around 150 miles a week, it will take three to four years.

“The fitter I get, the easier it should become,” he said.

He began the challenge in November, and has now covered almost 3,500 miles.

“I can’t leave my wife for long, so I have to exercise in short bursts,” he said.

“I have a rowing machine and exercise bike at home. and now the weather is improving I will be doing lots of walking as well.”

People can assist by donating miles they have completed in exercise, which will then be added to his total.

All funds will be split between the Motor Neurone Disease Association and MND Scotland.

“MND is something that few people know much about,” said Steve.

“The cause is unknown, there is no known cure and it can happen to anyone.

“MND is a progressive condition that damages the nervous system, attacking the cells that send messages between the brain and muscles.

“The primary aim of my challenge is to raise as much money as possible for research into potential causes and cures of MND.

“Just £3,000 can fund a month’s research. People can get involved by either sponsoring me via the donation page I have set up or contacting me to donate miles.”

Steve, who works as a planner for Morris & Spottiswood in Warrington, said the firm had allowed him to work flexibly so he can provide round the clock care for his wife.

“Morris & Spottiswood has been extremely supportive of me,” he said.

“The firm allows me to work from home, holding online meetings and even group training sessions.

“Beyond this, they have been behind me every step of the way in my charitable challenges. Emails have been sent around to help drum up awareness and colleagues have donated both miles and money.

“I cannot thank the team enough.”

And the Garstang Courier will be following Steve’s progress over the years, backing him every step of the way, We will be reporting on his progress every two months, seeing where he has reached in the world, how much he has raised and how far there is yet to go.

To donate funds, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Round-the-World-4-MND.