Married: Nope… seriously single
Hi, my name is Dean and I’m 35 years old. In October 2012 I went to the opticians as the new glasses I had just spent £400 on a few days earlier weren’t helping me, or at least that’s what I thought. My right eye had started to go blurry and my vision had deteriorated so badly that I couldn’t see much at all.
It turned out that I had optical neuritis (a damaged optic nerve) I was referred back to the hospital for a MRI scan to investigate further. There were a few scary possibilities – A tumour or growth, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), MND or it could be a simple infection. As it turns out it was MS. Not half as scary and the others but still it took me some time to get to grips with this and move forward with my life.
MS is a condition that impacts everything from the very thoughts in your head to every physical action in your body. It attacks without remorse or any pattern and each persons MS is completely different making it so difficult to be able to treat.
MS can strip you of your independence, dignity and pride. At present there are no known cures for MS, but hopefully with the right funding into research we can beat this horrible condition.
So after feeling sorry for myself for a couple of days. I decided I was going to fight back and take control of the here and now. I might not be able to stop MS, I don’t know when it’s going to attack or where and how it will affect me.
However today I can give it a right good doing and continue for as long as I can. I set up Dean VS MS on Facebook and Twitter and started Writting a blog. Sharing my journey, this is how I started talking to Kirsteen Cook(Barry’s wife)
In the last three years I have completed 4 full marathons, 1 half marathon, a triathlon and various other 10k runs and obstacle courses.
Last year after being nominated for an RBS Finding Scotland’s Real Heroes Award in which I was a finalist with Barry’s daughter Jenny.
I then became friends with Barry and Derek.
I might seem to take on extreme challenges but clearly by making friends with me, Kirsteen is also quite found of a challenge too.
I had been considering the Arch to Arc challenge for quite some time so when Derek called me and said he wanted to do a joint challenge between Dean VS MS and the Catherine McEwan Foundation, something that would capture the public’s imagination, I knew this was the challenge for us.
The three of us are embarking on a challenge so extreme that when we complete it we will instantly join a group of elite sports people. That in its self is incredible and scary in equal quantities.
Chasing dreams and creating memories is what we are doing, however with your support we can make a real difference to the lives of people with MS and IBD.
Thanks so much for reading,
Cheers Dean X
Married: to Kirsteen
Kids: Jenny and Alex
I decided long and hard about taking this challenge on when we first discussed it.
Could I actually complete it?
Could I commit to the gruelling training regime starting Oct 15 and lasting just under 1 year. All the Early mornings / late nights?
I’m fond of a late night and I think it’s fair to say, I enjoy living well!
What could be achieved from doing this other than putting my body and mind through significant pain?!
Quite a lot actually….
My daughter Jenny has been a patient at Yorkhill Childrens Hospital in Glasgow for the past 8 years. Jenny, now aged 12, was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis aged 5 and had many long stays in the hospital and a number of critical operations, including having her large bowel removed at the age of 6.
Jenny set off on a fundraising and awareness mission since being diagnosed (at the time of writing she has raised over £80,000) and has spoke at schools, large corporate events and acts as a buddy to Children who have been diagnosed.
Once I considered what Jenny has faced in her life, I realised that my ‘challenge’ was nothing. This was actually a real chance for ME to give something back to Yorkhill and at the same time take to the road and water and raise more awareness of this disease – which unfortunately is becoming more and more common in young children. We need more research and at the same time making life as good as we can for the children and their families who are impacted.
It won’t be easy, there have already been days of pain and tears trying to get into shape for the challenge but I am prepared to give it every bit of energy i have. With your support those dark days may just be a bit brighter.
Married: The long suffering Julie
Kids: Wee Walter the Dug
My mum passed away through the effects of Crohn’s disease when I was 16 years old, she was only 38.
Catherine battled severe Crohn’s disease from the age of 16 and underwent multiple operations. Truth be told growing up, it seemed like we spent more time at the hospital or doctors than at home. Her weight was very often below six stone, she would be fed by a tube and with the onset of arthritis and then Epilepsy every day was a real challenge her.
Sadly her frail body could not take any more and a severe infection caused her to pass. It took me a very long time to come to terms with the loss and the fact that such a beautiful person could be dealt so many cruel blows.
In December 2003 I decided to channel my grief in a positive manner and subsequently set up the Catherine McEwan Foundation in her memory. The Foundations aim is to help improve the lives of people affected by Crohns & Colitis. Over the past 12 years the Foundation has raised in the region of £750,000 and works closely with Crohn’s and Colitis UK and Yorkhill Children’s Charity.
The Foundation has helped thousands of families since its birth and continues to do so every day. The funds raised have been channelled into ground breaking research as well as funding an IBD nurse at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow and many invaluable family days that are both educational and fun.
I wanted to set a challenge that would capture peoples imagination and hopefully raise a lot of money for our charities. It will be a year of training and fundraising that will put all of the team through pain both physically and mentally, but nothing in comparison to the people we are trying to help.
Please help us make a difference. Crohn’s, Colitis and MS are serious chronic conditions that need your support.