Physio's challenge will take pedal power

Countess of Chester Hospital physiotherapist in cycle challenge for Reverse Rett charity

Neil Fowler with wife Gayle, daughters Ciara and Sofia, son Michael and supporters

In the battle to raise funds to fight a rare genetic disorder his daughter suffers from, Neil Fowler will cycle through 14 countries in 14 days.

The father-of-three is taking on the challenge for the Reverse Rett charity.

Neil’s four-year-old daughter Ciara has Rett Syndrome that strikes healthy girls just after they have learned to walk and say a few words.

The physiotherapist at the Countess of Chester Hospital and his team set off on Sunday, June 1 from the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Glasgow, planning to finish in Northern Italy on June 14.

Countries along the route include Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Wales, England, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

So far the team have raised £14,000 of a £20,000 target.

Neil and wife Gayle both aged 41, Ciara, Michael, seven and Sofia aged 16-months live in Ellesmere Port.

Last year he cycled from Chester to Rome for the charity.

He said: “For the first 6-7 months of Ciara’s life everything appeared to be fine with her development.

“But around this time we noticed Ciara was not attaining her developmental milestones.

“She never started to crawl, began to withdraw socially, had no interest in toys, would constantly grind her teeth, would become anxious and distressed for no obvious reason.

“She had difficulty eating food and exhibited extremely low muscle tone which caused her to be floppy, preventing her from being able to sit unaided.”

After 18 months of clinical investigations Ciara was referred to a consultant geneticist who raised the possibility of Rett Syndrome.

Neil said: “The day before Ciara’s second birthday we received the devastating news that the latest blood test confirmed she had Rett Syndrome.

“Ciara is still unable to sit unaided, cannot talk, cannot feed herself, cannot purposefully use her hands and cannot communicate her thoughts and feelings as she would like.

“She is on long term antibiotics for her chest.

“Despite her disabilities she seems to be generally happy in her little life.

“Her smile melts my heart each and every time.”

“As long as there is hope we keep smiling and we keep fighting to help clever people find the cure.”

Anyone wishing to support Neil can log onto his JustGiving page.

His progress can be followed on his Facebook page  at 14:14:14 Cycle Challenge and Twitter at Team Ciara @141414CycleChal.

 
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