Doting uncle completes month long cycling challenge to raise money for nephew with Muscular Dystrophy

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David has raised £4,000 but still needs to raise another £1,000 to purchase the all-terrain electric wheel chair.

Doting Uncle David Cook said he would “do it all again if necessary” after completing his gruelling challenge of cycling 25 miles every day throughout the month of May to raise money to purchase an all-terrain electric wheelchair for his nephew William Calvert.

William, 11, from Sunderland, was a happy and healthy little boy, but at the age of three he a was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a muscle wasting condition which has no cure.

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David Cook starting his cycling challenge to raise £5,000 for his 11-year-old nephew who has muscular dystrophy in order to buy an all-terrain wheelchair. David Cook starting his cycling challenge to raise £5,000 for his 11-year-old nephew who has muscular dystrophy in order to buy an all-terrain wheelchair.
David Cook starting his cycling challenge to raise £5,000 for his 11-year-old nephew who has muscular dystrophy in order to buy an all-terrain wheelchair. | sn

Over the last eight years, William's condition has now deteriorated to the point where he is unable to walk and fully reliant on his wheelchair.

Unfortunately William's current wheelchair restricts his access when the family go on trips to locations such as the beach or cobbled streets of Beamish.

David, 60, who used to be a physical instructor in the army, decided to take on the 775 mile challenge at Harton Sports Centre to “improve the quality of his nephew’s life for whatever time he has”.

Speaking ahead of the challenge David said: "William used to always have a smile on his face and we all noticed the impact this has had.

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"We want William to be able to access the places other children can so he doesn't feel isolated and left out."

William Calvert with his great uncle, David Cook.William Calvert with his great uncle, David Cook.
William Calvert with his great uncle, David Cook. | Caroline Calvert

David, who was born and bred in Sunderland but now lives in South Shields, completed the 31 day challenge on Friday (May 31), often having to start at 7am in the morning before starting work or hitting the pedals late in the evening after a late shift.

After completing the challenge he said: “I’m a bit sore and my legs and knees are aching, but what kept me going was raising the money for William as well as the words of encouragement from other people in the gym.

“William is an inspiration and has the heart of a lion. Sadly his condition is deteriorating rapidly and we just want to get this chair to give William that extra quality of life and make him comfortable for the next few years.”

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David has currently raised £4,000 through a combination of his JustGiving page and additional sponsorship, but is still £1,000 short of the £5,000 cost of the all-terrain chair.

People can still donate via his JustGiving page and David is pleading for people to help make-up the shortfall and give William “a few more quality years”.

He said: “I’m really grateful for all the donations I’ve had so far but it would be fantastic to meet that £5,000 total to get this chair which will make such a difference to William’s life.”

David has completed a number of other challenges to raise funds for his nephew, including 24 hours on a rowing machine and 24 hours on a punch bag, but after several knee operations he had originally said this cycle challenge would “probably be his last”.

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However, after completing his cycling marathon David said: “I’ve been saying this for years, but if William needed something to improve his life then I would happily do it all again.”

Mum, and David's niece, Caroline Calvert was also keen to stress the life changing impact of a new all-terrain wheelchair.

She said: "An all-terrain wheelchair is not merely a tool for mobility, it is a critical lifeline that can dramatically enhance quality of life. The benefits of providing such a device to William are profound multifaceted.

"The wheelchair will promote his independence. William is very aware of how much he relies on family and friends for help and it would be wonderful for him to feel some independence."

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Crucially the new wheelchair will enable William to access the same locations as his friends.

Caroline added: "The amount of time William spends with friends since becoming non-ambulant is reducing dramatically. He feels excluded from a wide range of activities and plans because he simply cannot access them.

"A recent school trip to the seaside, left William sat at the side with staff while all his peers enjoyed the beach.”

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