AN INSPIRATIONAL explorer is set to become the first person with Parkinson’s disease to climb Mount Everest.

Alex Flynn from Wantage, was 36 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2008.

Since diagnosis, he has been through a series of punishing sponsored challenges in extreme conditions around the world, to support research into the disease.

He has completed tough challenges including a 160-mile run in the Bavarian Alps, an ultra-marathon in the Sahara desert, a 450km expedition in the Swedish Arctic, and a 3,256-mile voyage across the United States by bike, kayak and on foot.

During lockdown, he climbed the equivalent of 4.6 times the height of Everest by undertaking a vertical marathon on his stairs at home.

In preparation to climb Everest next year, he has already scaled Mont Blanc in Europe and is currently tackling the Nepalese Mera Peak in the Himalayas.

Herald Series: Alex Flynn Wantage Adventurer

Mr Flynn describes how with such a neurological disease, people ‘lose a little part of themselves’ every day, which over time ‘leads to a lack of confidence and a loss of self-worth’.

He said: “There are so many people out there with neurological diseases and so many feel isolated, alone, ostracised, and made to feel different because people simply don’t understand them.

“I want to change that. I want to show people what’s possible and raise awareness of the humanity behind the disease.”

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The adventurer hopes to inspire people to tackle their ‘personal Everest’, whether that is getting across their living room or going to the shops.

He said: "If I achieve what I set out to do at 14 years post-diagnosis and probably living with Parkinson’s for more than 20 years, I think it will change minds about neurological disease and raise attention of and money to fund the creation of better treatments.”

Herald Series: Alex Flynn Wantage Adventurer

He added: “It’s not just an old person’s disease. If a two-year-old boy is diagnosed, imagine what that kid will go through. That makes me even more determined to do everything in my power, and with every opportunity I have, to raise funds for Parkinson’s research so that people with neurological disease, and in particular Parkinson’s, can one day say that they used to have Parkinson’s."

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The challenges he puts himself through are also benefitting him in multiple ways.

He said: “My self-confidence and self-worth have been boosted by the belief and my ability to do these challenges. I believe the extreme exercise has been exceptionally beneficial in stopping my deterioration or slowing my deterioration down. It has kept me going.”

Mr Flymm attends The Engine House gym in Ardington, near Wantage where he trains for events.

The gym team are supporting the adventurer to help raise funds to get him up Everest with a ‘Bottoms Up Charity Troop March’ on Sunday from 9am.

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