A Clitheroe man and his brother-in-law are aiming to raise £2,000 for the MS Society by travelling more than 1,500 miles from eastern Spain to the Irish Sea in support of a family member with multiple sclerosis.
Darryl Chadwick, a 37-year-old electrical engineer who now lives in Padiham with his partner Claire Wilson, rode his motorbike 1,500 to the Spanish town of Vinaros to meet his brother-in-law Greg Wilson, a 42-year-old joiner. The pair set off from the Mediterranean coast on Tuesday, with Greg on his bicycle and Darryl on his motorcycle.
They will travel up to 100 miles a day over the Pyrenees through to northern France where they will take a ferry to Plymouth and cycle north to the Eric Morecambe statue in Morecambe. Darryl hopes his challenge will raise awareness of MS and help support other families affected by the condition.
His partner Claire, who is a nursing sister in the emergency department at Royal Blackburn Hospital, first experienced signs of MS nine years ago when she was 31. She says she was just about to finish her nurse training when out of nowhere she started having cognitive problems.
“MS is so unpredictable. It was three months before my graduation and all of sudden I wasn’t able to finish my sentences. I just couldn’t find the words. I also had what felt like pins and needles all over my body,” she said.
“The doctors thought I’d had a stroke, but an MRI scan showed indications of MS. It took another year of tests and hospital visits to finally diagnose me. It was a really stressful year for my family and actually quite frightening.”
MS is an unpredictable condition which 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.
Every year Claire, her mum Catherine, and their family and friends host a cake break where they sell homemade cakes to raise money for the MS Society. Darryl says that his challenge is his way of recognising all the good work Claire does for their community and other people with MS: “I’m a big motorbike enthusiast and Greg is really into cycling. We’ve been talking about doing a trip like this for two to three years now.
“Claire refuses to let MS stop her from doing what she loves. She fights to conquer her condition while also putting so much into caring for others. She battles through every day, goes to work and saves people’s lives. She’s an inspiration and I’m really proud of her.”
Speaking about her fiancé and brother’s challenge, Claire said: “What Darryl and Greg are doing is absolutely amazing. It’s really important for us to do what we can to help fund research.
“The MS Society helped discover the drugs that I am benefitting from, so it’s only fair that we give something back.”
Sponsor Darryl and Greg at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/darryl-chadwick. Find more information about MS or the MS Society at www.mssociety.co.uk.
The MS Society also has a free helpline on 0808 800 8000.