June 9, 2011

Dad raises £100k for son's life saving drug

Jun 9 2011 By Lucy Cork, Buckinghamshire Advertiser

AN 'EXHAUSTED' super dad has finished a 925-mile cycle ride from Land's End to John O'Groats, raising a huge £100,000 for a drug that could save his son's life.

David French, of Ledborough Lane, Beaconsfield, set off on Friday, May 27, with supportive team-mates, after months of training and fundraising. It has been his way of giving his family 'hope' for the future.

Mr French's son William, nine, was diagnosed with Niemann-Pick Disease, Type C (NPC), a crippling and very rare degenerative disease also known as childhood Alzheimer's, when he was six months old. Only 80 people in the UK are known to have the disease.

The money raised through this cycle challenge will go directly to applying for a UK trial of a life-saving drug that is currently only available in America.

Mr French said: "This is what my wife Sue and I are now turning our attention to.

"It has been quite a trip and we never dreamed of raising £100,000. Now we have more work to do for William."

William's condition means that he cannot deal with the everyday challenges of life. He needs help getting dressed, eating meals and almost anything involving motor skills.

A determined Mr French cycled for 10 days, which included a multi-bike pile-up on day eight, resulting in a somersaulting rider, 24 hours of constant rain and three broken wheels. The hard work came to an end at 3.33pm on Sunday, June 5.

The intrepid team, including Jeff Corrigan, Graham Rogers and Jeremy Tipper, were joined by William for the final few miles, who rode alongside in a pull-along bike.

Mr French said: "It was such a great feeling to finish by seeing about 30 friends and family cheering and clapping. The support we have received has been incredible. It is a fantastic feeling.

"Nine years on and the NPC world has seen a huge investment of research funds, particularly in the US and that is beginning to pay dividends.

"We very much believe in his future and are determined to do all we can to make that a reality."

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