TEENAGER Jess Taylor is set to cycle 1,000 miles in 14 days when she takes on the Land’s End to John O’Groats challenge in support of her grandmother.
Sandra Wanless, 67, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2006, and is now branch secretary for Parkinson’s UK in Swindon.
Jess, 13, has been training by cycling the 30 miles from her home in Chepstow to her boarding school in Stonehouse, and will be joined on the ride by her dad Paul, 41.
The challenge will be intensified as Jess suffers from a condition which can make her very sick.
Jess, who attends the Wycliffe Prep School in Gloucestershire, said: “I will be cycling for my grandmother.
“I can’t remember a time when she didn’t have Parkinson’s. I guess it’s just part of her personality to me, but I do know that her symptoms will get worse.
“When that happens, I want a cure to be there waiting for her.”
The adventure will form part of Jess’s Kirby Challenge Award at school. Jess added: “I also wanted to take on one of the biggest challenges I will do in my life. I want to be able to say ‘I’ve done that’.”
Sandra said she was thrilled when Jess announced what she was doing.
“I think it is absolutely brilliant,” she said. “She has reduced many of my friends to tears. She wrote a little piece about why she was doing it on her JustGiving page, which was utterly heartwarming.
“I am extremely proud of her. They were talking about things they could do to raise money for charities in school, but she kept it a secret from me until they confirmed it, so it was a bit of a surprise when she finally announced that she was doing it all for me.
“She has been cycling home at weekends from boarding school in Stonehouse, which is a 30-mile journey. Her dad will drive up with the bike and she will cycle back the whole way, so she shouldn’t have any problems with this.
“The only problem is that she has been diagnosed with cyclic vomiting syndrome.
“Sometimes she will not know what is in her food, and if she eats the wrong thing she starts being sick. Some days she would be sick 12 times in an hour. She doesn’t know when it will happen.
“She went down to Great Western Hospital who gave her tablets, which seem to have improved things.”
Paul Jackson-Clark, director of fundraising at Parkinson’s UK, said: “As well as helping to raise vital funds, Jess and Paul will also be helping to raise awareness of Parkinson’s. We wish them the very best of luck for their epic ride.”
To sponsor the pair, visit www.justgiving.com/Paul-Taylor70