November 2010

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Last week I was invited to attend the Scottish Athletics Awards Dinner by jog Scotland. Jog Scotland is a division of Scottish athletics aimed at getting people running. The WobblyWilliams Running Team does some PR with them as many of us epitomise what they do, encourage middle-aged people to get off their backsides and take some exercise. Lofty Lowther, my PE teacher from schooldays, would have been sent to an early grave. Bryn Williams invited to an athletics awards dinner. I can see him laughing with derision as I type. He didn’t spot my potential when I was a gangly teenager and it took Parkinson’s to unlock it.

Having been sent to an early grave, he would soon have been sent into a spin, as the WobblyWilliams running team picked up a special inspiration award. Ha! At last the gold medal I received for winning the boys doubles (with Stephen Davidson) in the primary six badminton competition at Central Primary School can now be retired and replaced with the glass edifice on the mantelpiece. Whenever we get one. I wonder is there an organisation which has an awards ceremony in which prizes are mantelpieces.

The last few weeks have been hectic, since I met Steven Gill. There are many possible directions I can go in and directing my personal fundraising (not the WobblyWilliams.com fundraising) towards better drug delivery systems is very appealing. It is an issue which needs addressing and one which I can apply the principles which I have learned through Wobbly Williams to a much greater audience, drug delivery systems can be used to deliver drugs for any condition not just Parkinson’s. This increases the fundraising capabilities hugely and if we can contribute to removing one of the unknowns from clinical trials then it is worth doing. If we know the delivery mechanism works then the failure of clinical trials comes down to the drug. I appreciate this is an oversimplification but I suspect it is not a million miles from the truth.

The good news is that as an organisation WobblyWilliams is being recognised as a contributor to the debate and our focus on this issue has concentrated the minds of others and hopefully we will see some progress in the next few weeks. I can’t find a charity which specialises in drug delivery mechanisms so we have taken the first steps towards setting up a charity for this purpose. The charity will sit alongside WobblyWilliams and will involve many of the same people. However that is where the association ends. Although WobblyWilliams supporters can raise money for the new charity if they wish, WobblyWilliams is, and will remain, a Parkinson’s website and organisation, and the charity that WobblyWilliams will primarily support in 2011 will be the Cure Parkinson’s Trust.

At the beginning of the year, my running chum, Karen, set us a goal of running 10 half marathons and two full marathons in 2010. If the truth be told, I thought this was unachievable for a tubby plodder like me. Apart from requiring significant amount of training, it would also require both of us remaining injury free and my Parkinson’s not taking control of my legs. However, as I think having goals is kind of important in the battle with PD, I accepted. On Sunday at 2:20 in the afternoon we finished our final half marathon in Fort William. It was a great moment and all our running friends were there to share the moment.

We are discussing our challenge for 2011, and a current favourite is the one, two, three, four, five. Climb one mountain (Ben Nevis) run two 10ks, three half marathons (Campbeltown, Great Scottish, and Great North) four marathons (Paris, Berlin, New York and one other) and run the West Highland Way in five days. It is a frightening prospect but it will keep me focused on keeping fit.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Lofty.

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