Pictured above: Alison Anderson (left) in training with fellow Cyclopaths

Alison Anderson was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s three years ago, aged 45. As an incentive both to keep fit and to raise funds and awareness for The Cure Parkinson’s Trust (CPT), over the past year Alison has taken on two of the most grueling physical challenges available. 

In November 2017, along with her team of 15 ‘Cyclopaths’ Alison cycled 500km from Vietnam to Cambodia. They travelled across dirt track roads in 35 degree heat and humidity, covering up to 60 miles a day. As a result of this incredible effort, Alison and The Cyclopaths raised over £42,000 for CPT and Alison was presented with CPT’s Alex Flynn Award, which celebrates her as the charity’s fundraiser of the year.

From the 25th August, the team will take to the saddle once again to complete the mammoth Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle, totaling 1,000 miles over two weeks. The group will be planning their own route, using the national cycle network where possible, and will organise their own accommodation, support vehicles and back up kit required for each cyclist. This year, with several new recruits in tow, The Cyclopaths will comprise 21 cyclists making the whole journey, with various others joining along the way. Alison said:

“This year, for me, the challenge is about keeping focussed, keeping positive and keeping active. Exercise is thought to help delay disease progression and I need to believe that something will help give me the kind of future I always assumed I would have. Between us we have cycled tens of thousands of miles in all weather, training for this year’s challenge. All of us are pushing ourselves harder than we have ever done before. We know it will be tough and we will all have to dig deep but we also know within the team, we will support each other.”

“I am the fittest I have ever been but it has taken months of very hard work to get to this stage. Having Parkinson’s can make the future seem very scary but it also helps me to focus on how important and how precious each day is now. This challenge makes me feel that I am making the most of each and every day while investing in my future. It also supports CPT which funds research into treatments that have the potential to slow, stop or reverse Parkinson’s. If they can achieve this, the lives of millions of people living with the condition will be changed for the better. Recent research is yielding promising results and until a cure is found, The Cure Parkinson’s Trust provides real hope and support which is a precious gift to give.”

At various points throughout the journey, the team will be joined by the amazing Vicki Dillon and her tea caravan ‘Queen Bea’, Vicki was diagnosed with Parkinson’s aged 35, and is a long term supporter of CPT. She recently provided replenishments for Will Boyd-Wallis and team 4 Feet 4 Paws 4 Parkinson’s amidst their Scottish trekking challenges.

Pictured above: Alison Anderson & Vicki Dillon 

If you would like to read more of The Cyclopath's story or support their fundraising please visit their fundraising page, follow their fantastic group blog or Facebook page.

If you feel inspired by Alison’s story and would like to organise your own fundraising cycle challenge please contact George to find out how we can support you.