Keen runner Keith O’Neil will take on his biggest challenge yet when he competes in the London Marathon to raise funds for the Cheshire branch of the MND Association in memory of a former parish councillor who died from the disease.
Keith will be pounding the pavements of the capital on April 23 in memory of his good pal Steven Casey’s dad Frank, a member of Barnton Parish Council for 17 years, who died from MND in 2010.
Sadly Steven, who had signed up to the race with Keith, has had to pull out due to a back injury, making Keith doubly determined to raise as many funds as possible for the charity which supports people affected by the disease in the Cheshire area.
Keith, a self-employed plumber from Weaverham, said: “I’ve completed the Great North Run three times so I decided it was time I pushed myself to do a full marathon.
“When I told Steven we decided to do it together in memory of Frank and to raise money for the charity which was there for him and his family.
“The Cheshire branch of the MNDA were instrumental in maintaining Frank’s quality of life, through informative meetings where he was able to talk to other people with the same illness. They also helped by providing vital equipment.”
Steven added: “Frank was a real family man - kind, gentle and lit up the room when he walked in. He was a member of Barnton Parish Council for many years and loved volunteering with local organisations such as Mid Cheshire Operatic Society and Witton Albion FC.”
Keith said training was going well but going the distance for a full 26.2 miles was going to be a challenge.
The 31-year- old, who will be cheered on by fiancée Jyl Edwards and parents Frank and Anne, added: “Even though my friends said I was mad to take on this challenge while also planning my wedding in June, I am determined to complete it. I am a little nervous but know I have been training hard for this. The best feeling is going to be finishing the race and knowing I have helped raise a lot of money for the charity.”
Keith has already raised £1,000 for the branch and is appealing for further donations to help him raise as much as possible.
The proceeds will be used to support local people living with the fatal neurological disease.
The branch runs regular support meetings and funds specialist equipment and adaptations to help people have a better quality of life.
MND is a fatal, rapidly progressive disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. It attacks the nerves that control movement, leading to the muscles wasting away. It can leave people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk, and eventually, breathe. There is currently no cure for the condition, which kills five people every day in the UK.
To sponsor Keith visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/keithoneil-london2017 or email email@example.com.