AN adventurous Colne teacher is preparing to take on the challenge of a lifetime to help cystic fibrosis victims like his brother.
Simon Atkin (38), head of PE at Fisher More Catholic Humanities College, in Gibfield Road, Colne, has set himself the task of completing 12 marathons in just 12 months — in a bid to raise £12,000.
And if that was not enough, the keen sportsman has also pledged to take part in two iron man distance triathlons, the Three Peaks Challenge, and Windermere’s Great North Swim in June.
All money raised will go towards sponsoring a nurse for the children’s Cystic Fibrosis ward at Leeds General Infirmary, where Simon’s younger brother Andrew Langthorne has been a patient for the past 17 years. Andrew, who has daily physiotherapy at home and has to take up to 50 tablets a day to aid his digestive system, has recently been moved to the hospital’s adult ward.
Simon, who is currently running approximately 35 miles each week, said: “I feel like I am ready to run, and I have been doing quite a lot of training.
“I think it recently hit home how poorly Andrew is at times. At night he breathes through an oxygen tank and has 3,000 calories pumped into his body through a feeding machine.”
Simon has already received bucket loads of support from family in North Yorkshire, and friends and colleagues from all over East Lancashire.
Many are also taking part in various challenges, such as the Ripon Triathlon and the Pendle Triathlon, to help Simon reach his ambitious target. Sabden Scout Group are currently in the process of organising their own relay marathon.
Now, the father-of-two, who lives in Clayton-le-Moors, Accrington, is urging others to step forward, and is also hopeful that local businesses will sign up to sponsoring a marathon or triathlon. Sanderson Dance and Fitness Centre, in Nelson, have already agreed to sponsor Simon’s first marathon in Manchester, on April 28th.
Headteacher at Fisher More Mr Chris Bohills, who will be taking part in the Three Peaks Challenge, said: “Simon has always been a person who has had great care and consideration for his brother, and who has always wanted to do the best for him.
“The staff here are 100% behind him.”
And a spokesman for Leeds Teaching Hospitals said: “Staff on the ward know Andrew very well and are delighted to hear about Simon’s plans, as well as being full of admiration for what will be a tremendous physical challenge.
“They are extremely grateful that he decided to choose their unit as the beneficiary for this ambitious endeavour.”
Any businesses wanting to sponsor a marathon should e-mail Simon on firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can be made on www.virginmoneygiving.com/ourchallenges.