December 5 2013 Latest news:
by Jon Dean
Thursday, August 29, 2013
A woman with a disease so debilitating she can barely walk has cycled the distance from London to Brighton to raise money for the gym that has helped her so much.
Marianne Gray, 50, has managed multiple sclerosis – a condition that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord – for many years.
But in recent months the untreatable disease had tightened its grip on her, making even the simplest journeys a painful struggle.
During this time, Outlook Gym, in St John’s Way, Archway, a specialist facility for those with complex disabilities or neurological impairments, has provided invaluable support to her.
Ms Gray, who lives in Eburne Road, Holloway, decided to cycle more than 55 miles and raise £1,500 for the centre so others can benefit as she has.
She said: “I have had MS for years and I used to be all cool and groovy, but recently I have been staggering around and struggling to walk.
“I’ve been using Outlook and it is fantastic for people who have had a stroke or an aneurysm or something.
“People don’t understand when they see someone who can’t talk or walk properly that they used to be a normal person.
“I am so grateful to the gym – they have really helped me and I wanted to contribute to give something back”
The gym provides users with Motomed bikes, which pedal themselves if the rider on them is too weak to carry on.
Ms Gray, a freelance journalist, did her journey in four-mile chunks and asked friends and family for sponsorship – with one generous donor giving £250
“That was a very old friend,” Ms Gray said.
“It took me about three months but I did it.
“It made me very proud and it was so nice to be cycling for a reason.”
On the sponsorship letter, Ms Gray included pictures of vistas she would have seen if she did the ride for real.
The letter read: “Even though this marathon was done on a stationary exercise bike, one is allowed to dream and I attach a small photoalbum of the dreams I had while pedalling and dreaming down the South Downs en route to Brighton Pier.”