SOME people might find running one marathon hard going – but five in five days?
That is what Sandwick based Michael Medici will put himself through in the summer to raise money for a charity extremely close to his heart.
The 32-year-old podiatrist is raising money for MND Scotland after both of his parents were diagnosed with motor neurone disease in the space of around five years.
The charity provides care and support for people with the debilitating terminal illness.
The disease affects the body’s motor nerves, with people in most cases losing the ability to walk, move their arms, speak, eat, drink and breathe.
Michael’s mum Lidia passed away in 2013 just six months after diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
The disease is rare and affects around two in every 100,000 in the UK.
Despite this, Michael’s dad Paul was also diagnosed with motor neurone disease in January 2018.
“Shock and disbelief doesn’t come close to describing how I and as a family we felt,” the father of one said.
“We’re thankful that Dad is still with us. However, his quality of life has significantly deteriorated over this last year.
“He is unable to walk, he has days where he has difficulty with his speech and with eating. He has carers visiting five times a day, and at night time he has a machine to assist him with his breathing.”
Michael said when someone close to you is diagnosed with motor neurone disease, “you just feel helpless”.
“There’s not a lot you feel you can do that for that person,” he said.
“I think doing this [the challenge] is just some small contribution.”
To raise money for MND Scotland, which also supports research into a cure, Michael will embark on five consecutive marathons in five days in July across the length of mainland Shetland.
This will amount to 131 miles, with his route due to cover Sumburgh Head to North Roe with some detours east and west.
The idea was conjured up in the spring, but the desire to fundraise has been in the back of the mind for years.
Michael has not officially ran a marathon yet but he has covered the distance as part of training.
He will cover plenty more miles over the coming months in preparation for the challenge.
Michael admits that “running a marathon is honourable, running five is stupidity – but hopefully you will feel it deserving of your support”.
He has a target of £5,000 but by Tuesday afternoon he had already raised over £1,500 in just a few hours.
Michael described work of MND Scotland as “vital”, with funding put towards adapting his dad’s home, for instance.
He added that the amount of money raised by his online donations page so far is “overwhelming”.
“I’m just grateful that so many people have already perhaps watched the video or read the JustGiving page and thought that’s a cause they want to get behind,” Michael said.
MND Scotland’s head of fundraising Iain McWhirter said he wished to thank Michael for taking on the “immense challenge”.
“Running one marathon is a feat in itself, but to run five marathons in five days, is just incredible,” he said.
“Because of supporters like Michael, we are able to provide vital practical, financial and emotional support to families affected by MND across the country.”
“We are also able to fund pioneering research which is taking us a step closer to a cure for this devastating disease.
“We cannot thank Michael enough for his support and we’ll be cheering him along in July as he takes on his 5 in 5 challenge.”
To donate to the cause, visit Michael’s fundraising page here.
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