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Trio do Land’s End to John O’Groats ride for sick child
A PRISON education manager from Abingdon cycled the length of the country for his friends’ son, who has a rare liver disease.
Mark Fisher, who manages the offender learning service in six prisons in the South East, was inspired to ride 972 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats by Blair Algie.
The 17-month old has been in and out of hospital all his life with a rare and life-threatening liver disease and will one day need a liver transplant.
He has constant monitoring to screen for the development of pre-cancerous cells, which would make his need for a transplant critical if discovered.
Mr Fisher, 45, and his two friends, Steve Bunyan, 42, from Stockport, and Paul Winterton, 42, from West Yorkshire, raised more than £3,000 for the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation, CLDF, which supports families like Blair’s and funds research into the disease in children.
Mr Fisher said: “The three of us have known each other and Blair’s parents, Keith and Julie, for more than 20 years.
“We have watched them go through the agony of Blair’s diagnosis and his frequent hospital trips for life-saving treatment.
“I knew it was going to be a challenge. A lot of people have a support car but we did it all on our own, which meant we had to carry everything we might have needed, including bike spares and repair kits.
He added: “We hit some really bad weather. It became much more of a challenge than I expected, but I think the smiles in the photo of us at the finish were purely from our sense of achievement.”
They completed the cycle within their target 13 days.
Julie Algie, from Cheshire, said: “It is absolutely brilliant what Mark, Steve and Paul have done.
“Blair is an incredible little boy, always smiling. He copes with everything that is thrown at him.
“He has finally started to thrive and was well enough this year for us to take him to Disneyland Paris. “We always promised we would take him to see Mickey Mouse when we could and it was wonderful to be able to do that after he had been so ill from birth.”
Two children are diagnosed with a liver disease every day in the UK. It affects more children than leukaemia and usually means a lifetime of hospital treatment and, in most cases, a liver transplant.
The public can sponsor the three riders by visiting http://www.justgiving.com/Paul-Mark-Steve-do-LEJOG
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