A devoted Chester husband is planning a sponsored cycle ride from Exmouth to Chester to raise funds to tackle fibromyalgia, a condition from which his wife suffers.
Stephen Williams of Upton explained: “My darling wife Amanda has been suffering with pain in one form or another for the past 30 years.
“However, 10 years ago this went to another level and she has become very disabled. She is in significant pain every day. Some days it is that bad she cannot get out of bed.”
Fibromyalgia, also called fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body. As well as widespread pain, people with fibromyalgia may also have increased sensitivity to pain, fatigue, muscle stiffness, difficulty sleeping, problems with mental processes such as problems with memory and concentration, headaches and irritable bowel syndrome.
Stephen said: “Amanda has a severe case of fibromyalgia and suffers with all of the above symptoms.
“Not many people know about fibromyalgia and there is little research into it, yet one in 50 people (about 1.2 million) in the UK have it. To change this we need to raise awareness of the condition and this is where FMA UK comes in.”
FMA UK is a registered charity run primarily by unpaid volunteers. The majority of volunteers are also fibromyalgia suffers who work extremely hard, despite their condition, in order to forward the cause of fibromyalgia.
FMA UK was established in order to provide information and support to sufferers and their families. In addition, it provides medical information for professionals and operates a national helpline.
“To support this charity, me and some of Amanda’s cousins - Emma White, Ben White, Hannah Bown - are doing a long distance cycle from Exmouth to Chester, that’s 220 to 250 miles depending on how bad our map readings skills are or how big the hills are!” said Stephen.
“This may seem an odd route to pick, but it has significance. Every year Amanda and I would go to Exmouth to visit Amanda’s family. Indeed Amanda has been going there all her life. However, she can no longer make the journey due to the pain she is in. When pondering what to do to raise money for FMA UK, it seemed appropriate to ride this route.
“We are planning to start on Exmouth seafront on May 31 and finish in Chester on June 1. If the map reading skills are poor this may be June 2! On route we shall be riding across Exmoor, over the Severn Bridge and up the English/Welsh border.
“We are asking for donations to this worthy charity - Fibromyalgia Action UK. The ride will be self funded so all your donations will go to the charity. Your donations will, of course, be great motivation when we are struggling with the training and on the ride itself.
“Thank you for your support.”
For further information on fibromyalgia please go to: http://www.fmauk.org/
You can also visit Stephen’s Just Giving page at https:// www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Stephen-Williams55 .