A quick history lesson.
In 2013, I set off from Glasgow on an epic “round the world by train” trip. The journey of a lifetime (or so I thought). And a journey which had been 18 months in the planning.
It was during this trip that I first started to fall over (once in a Copenhagen hotel bedroom, and again in Hamburg train station – falling down some stairs). However, I pushed on – until Novosibirsk, in Siberia. Where it became pretty obvious that I would have to abandon the journey and return to Scotland for medical investigations.
17 months of medical tests followed, until I was finally diagnosed with spinocerebellar ataxia in March 2015.
No, I’d never heard of it either.
It’s a very rare neurological condition that disrupts normal communication between the brain and body. Eventually, I will end up in a wheelchair. Or worse.
And it is incurable.
But worse than just being incurable, it’s also progressive. Meaning that my abilities will gradually disappear – and there is nothing that I can do to stop it from happening.
I consider myself more fortunate than some. I’ve lived a full (eventful?) life, and have travelled here, and done that. Ataxia also affects young people too though. Young people who will never be able to see some of the things that I have seen, and who will never have the chance to do some of the things that I have done.
Please watch the following two videos, which show exactly how ataxia affects young people (warning: you will need some tissues):
And Millie-Mae a few year’s later:
When I was first diagnosed, the first video was my very first introduction to ataxia.
And, as you can probably imagine, I was pretty much horrified.
However, once the initial shock had passed, I made a decision.
I could still walk (OK-ish), but for how much longer? And I realised that a cure would only come as the result of further medical research (true, this cure might come too late for me personally, but there is absolutely no reason why others should suffer a similar fate).
And that, because we have decided that government spending should not fund this medical research, it was down to charities like Ataxia UK to fund this research. And to raise these funds, Ataxia UK relied on daft people like me doing all manner of things:
As my ability to walk at all would be the next ablity that I would lose, I decided that that was exactly what I would do to raise funds/awareness. Walk.
But to raise as much interest as possible, both from the people who I met and talked to along the way, and from the media, I would wear a kilt while walking. Which worked.
So for the last two years, this is exactly what I have done (see Previous Walks). Culminating in me being invited to take part in the Celebrity Relay at Winter Wonderwheels, “competing” alongside Jonnie Peacock, Adam Hills, and a whole slew of MBEs/CBEs – in a team captained by Gold Medal Winning (Rio 2016) Paralympian swimmer Susie Rodgers MBE.
Raising £1,100 for Ataxia UK, and immeasurable ataxia awareness, at the same time.
Now that my ataxia has progressed to the stage where long-distance “walking” is no longer possible, I have come up with (what I think is) a rather unique fundraising/awareness-raising event which is still within my capabilities:
Travel right around the world – by train. The journey that I was originally making, in 2013, when ataxia first reared its ugly head.
The completion of my original, 2013, “round the world by train” journey has always been my ultimate objective. Although, initially, I was leaving this until I was actually wheelchair-bound (as train travel involves a lot of sitting down anyway).
However, now that long-distance walking is no longer a possiblity for me, I am less confident in my abilities to travel around the world by train in a wheelchair at a later date. So I am planning to complete my journey now, while I can still walk a bit.
All I need to do now is find a few thousand pounds (£4,000 to be exact).
And this is where kind and generous people like you come in.
To raise the cash needed to fund the completion of my “round the world by train” journey, I have started a “crowdfunding” drive. And to encourage donors, I will list all donors of £50 or more (the people who have made the completion of my journey a possibility). So there will be a maximum of 80 people listed (much fewer if pledges are for greater amounts).
So this is a pretty unique, positive, media-friendly, and very limited, story to be part of.
I use Paypal to collect all pledges. This is 100% secure, and is also the most cost-effective way for me to do this (other than by direct Bank Transfer – details below also).
Method 1. Paypal: https://www.paypal.me/IainMcGeachin
Method 2. Bank Transfer:
Sort Code: 20-76-76
A/C number: 50377864
A/C Name: I A McGeachin
As is always the case, any funds not used by myself, will be added to the sum already collected for Ataxia UK, including the funds collected during the journey.
Thank you so very very much.