AN Ayr philantropist has spoken about the family link that has inspired him to take on a gruelling 205-mile bike ride for charity.

On June 24, MND Scotland chairman Adrian Murphy will be taking on the 'Chase the Sun UK North Ride' event to raise cash for the organisation, which supports people with motor neurone disease.

As part of his own ‘Monster Challenge’, Adrian raised over £75,000 for MND Scotland last year by taking on five gruelling events, including a seven-day 'Monster Triathlon' that involved a 5km swim in Loch Ness, followed by 1,000km of cycling across five days, culminating with an ultra-marathon (50km) along the Thames in London. 

Now, Adrian is on a mission to raise even more money that will help to support people like his brother, Brian, who was diagnosed with MND in February 2019. 

Speaking on his motivation to take on Chase the Sun, Adrian said: “Following the success of my Monster Challenge last year, I decided to keep up with triathlon training for my own health and fitness rather than ask people for more money.

"That was until Brian’s battle earlier this year with illness alongside his MND inspired me to find my next challenge.” 

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.

There are no effective treatments for MND, which is why fundraising events like this are so vital to driving our search for a cure. 

He continued: “I knew it had to be something that could come close to matching last year and mean something to me.

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"With Chase the Sun consisting of over 200 miles of cycling, setting off at sunrise in Northumberland on the east at 4.16am, I knew this would without a doubt be a challenge.

"But the fact the ride finishes at 10pm, outside our old family home on the seafront in Ayr, told me that this was the right event for me. 

“This year I am inviting any keen cyclists to join team MND Scotland and help me to make time count by finishing the race by sunset while raising money and awareness of the great work MND Scotland does in supporting people and their families that have been affected by this terrible disease.” 

Although described by the event organisers as a tough, physical and mental challenge, Chase the Sun is achievable for an average committed cyclist and MND Scotland is offering limited ‘Just Ride’ charity places to those looking to ride as part of Team MND Scotland and make a difference to the lives of people affected by MND. 

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Recalling when he first learned about Brian’s diagnosis, Adrian said: “I had only just seen Brian a couple of months before he was diagnosed.

"I remember thinking he had lost weight and was walking a bit funny but like a lot of people will tell you, you just don’t think it’s going to be MND and to be honest, I didn’t think too much of it. 

“Then one evening I got a phone call from my mum and could instantly tell something was really wrong.

"That’s when she told me that Brian had been diagnosed with motor neuron disease.

"I was in a complete state of shock and at the time we just had no idea what to do, what to say or how to process it.” 

Sadly, as the disease has progressed, Brian no longer has use of his arms or legs and now uses a wheelchair full-time as well as a ventilator to help him breathe. 

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Adrian said: “Although it’s still a very difficult journey, since Brian was diagnosed, I don’t know where we would be without the support of MND Scotland and I want to continue to give back to the charity that has done so much for our family. 

“Many rely heavily on MND Scotland for free support to make living with MND easier and my goal is to help make an even bigger impact on people’s lives to make sure no one has to go through this disease alone. 

“If you are up for the challenge and want to make a difference in the lives of people living with MND, then I would love for you to sign up and join me and the MND Scotland team at this year’s Chase the Sun.” 

Thanking Adrian for his phenomenal support, MND Scotland’s CEO, Rachel Maitland said: “After already doing so much for MND Scotland, both as chairman of the board and as a fundraiser, we cannot thank Adrian enough for once again stepping up and taking on another gruelling challenge to support people affected by MND and the work of MND Scotland. 

“Motor neurone disease is a devastating condition and we are only able to continue to provide vital services and fund pioneering research thanks to the support of our incredible fundraisers. 

“By taking on Chase the Sun, Adrian continues to inspire us all and we would like to join him in encouraging anyone who would like to take on this impressive event to sign up for one of our charity places today. 

“On behalf of everyone at MND Scotland, I would like to wish Adrian good luck and thank him for his endless dedication to making time count for people living with MND.

"Thank you, Adrian!” 

Join Adrian at Chase the Sun by registering for one of the limited ‘Just Ride’ charity places here

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