Chris, who works in social housing for the city council, has been moved to raise money after losing his dad, James Bell, to Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in February, less than four months after his diagnosis.
MND is a rapidly progressing terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles. This may cause someone to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or breathe unaided.
The 2.6 Challenge was launched on 26 April, the day the London Marathon was supposed to take place. The challenge calls for people across the UK to pick their own ‘2.6 Challenge’ in support of a charity close to their heart.
Chris said: “I'm doing this challenge in memory of my Dad, who died on February 11th aged 63. He was from Edinburgh and lived in the Edinburgh south area.
“He was diagnosed in November 2019 but he also had lung cancer which he received treatment for and actually beat the cancer. We think he had MND since 2017, during the time of the cancer, but they weren’t looking for that, so he was only officially diagnosed in November 2019.”
“We noticed that he started struggling with his walking and falling over and hurting himself. After that, his condition progressed very quickly; first he used a walking aid, and then we had to get a stair lift installed.
“He was a proud man and it was painful to watch him struggling, but one ray of light was that he got to meet my little niece, who was born in December 2019, and he was so happy he did.
“We also went to see the Chemical Brothers in Glasgow, since he was such a massive fan and it was on his bucket list. He struggled but he had such an amazing night and I'm glad I got to spend that moment with him.
“In February he had a bad night and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. That last week visiting him every day in the hospital was by far the hardest and most emotional time for me and my family. It was absolutely horrific seeing him like that.
“I never knew much about MND until dad but now I understand how absolutely heart-breaking it is. That’s why I’m so determined to raise as much awareness as I can for MND.”
Now Chris, inspired by a number of other MND Scotland fundraisers, has decided to join-in on the 2.6 Challenge in memory of his dad. Chris plans on running 2.6 miles each day for a month, to raise vital funds to support the charity.
“I’m no runner, I literally took up running when I started this challenge on the 9th of May, so it’s been a difficult start but it's getting easier now. I was inspired by a girl called Holly Archibald, who was raising money for MND Scotland, and it spurred me on to do it myself and in my dad's memory.
“MND is close to my heart after what happened to my Dad, so I'm very proud to be raising money for the charity. I will continue to raise money for MND Scotland for the rest of my life or as long as my body allows me to.”
Iain McWhirter, Head of Fundraising at MND Scotland, said: “This is a challenging time for charities across the country, with all large-scale fundraising events on hold, but it’s because of people like Chris that we’re able to keep supporting families affected by MND during the pandemic.
“Last month we launched an Emergency Appeal which has so far raised over £27,000 to fuel brand new services to keep us connected to people with MND during the lockdown.
“People like Chris are helping us go even further, making sure that families affected by MND can enjoy one-to-one phone support, emergency financial grants, and video support groups during the lockdown.
“I’d like to thank Chris for all he’s doing and I encourage everyone to support him if they can. Whether it’s £1, £5, or £10, every penny makes a difference.”
All of Chris’s sponsorship goes directly to MND Scotland. You can show your support at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chriss-26-challenge1032
Iain McWhirter | Head of Fundraising