A SELF-confessed couch potato from Bridgwater has not only pledged to take up running, but also aims to run the equivalent of Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money for the Childhood Tumour Trust.
Mike Bird, a father of three, has committed to running the 874 miles required to raise awareness for Neurofibromatosis – a rare genetic condition from which both Mike and his two youngest children suffer.
Mike said: “The condition can cause benign tumours to grow on the nerves and skin as well causing ‘cafe au lait’ patches and problems with bones, eyes and the nervous system.
“My nine-year-old daughter had to undergo eight-hour surgery three years ago as a tumour in her neck started to cause signs of early paralysis.
“I have a tumour on my brain and several lesions have recently been discovered on my son’s brain. Despite affecting more than 25,000 individuals in the UK, it’s actually a very little known about condition’.
‘”The money raised will go to the Childhood Tumour Trust (CTT) who have been there for us constantly through our challenging journey.”
He added: “I have never been particularly active. The most exercise I tended to do during the week was walking across the Hippychick car park where I work and into the office!’
“Lockdown really motivated me, as I know it has done for several other people, and really opened my eyes and ears to the value of exercise and getting out into the fresh air. It just makes you feel better, happier, healthier.
“A year ago, running wasn’t something I’d ever contemplated. But I have been so inspired by all these lockdown heroes who have achieved such amazing feats – Captain Tom being the one who made the most impact. It made me think – ‘I can do that’!
And so, Mike set out to achieve his mission on January 1 this year. To date, he has clocked up 100 miles, running back and forth from Hippychick during the week, as well as going out on longer stints on weekends. He can now achieve 7.5km in one run and he says his stamina is increasing daily.
To date, Mike has received pledges to the value of over £700 from friends and family as well from his employers – a baby and toddler specialist in Bridgwater. Perhaps the most meaningful donation comes from his daughter, Freya, who pledged £5 – an entire week’s pocket money.
Mike said: ‘My employers at Hippychick have been amazing. Not only have they given me a sizeable donation, but they are also going to ‘sponsor’ me, providing me with technical running gear to help me go the distance. We are also considering ways I can clock up the miles while I’m in work time.
“When we receive local orders, within 5kms or so of Bridgwater, the plan is for me to make the deliveries on foot wherever possible.”
To help Mike visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mike-birdlandsendtojohnogroats