Dunbeg man takes up fundraising mission

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A DUNBEG man will peddle more than 900 miles in order to raise not only money for charity, but also awareness for his son’s condition.

Graham West, 41, w16_tgraham01_graham west charity cycleill ride his bike from John o’ Groats to Land’s End to raise money for the Dwarf Sports Association, as Graham’s son Lewis, who uses a ventilator at night to help him breathe, was born with Achondroplasia.

Achondroplasia is a bone growth disorder that affects one in every 15,000 to 40,000 births and is one of the most common forms of short limb dwarfism.

Graham said: ‘80 per cent of the births are to average height parents, so it was quite a shock for us when we found out that he had this condition, but we wouldn’t change him for the world.’

Catriona Currie, Graham’s partner and Lewis’s mum, said: ‘It will be good to highlight the charity as it’s not really recognised, it’s such a rare thing and the condition is often ridiculed.

‘It’s an actual disability, but people take the micky out of dwarfism. They don’t think about the problems associated with it, this wee one [Lewis] stopped breathing when he was a week old.

‘So no one thinks about the conditions associated with the condition, it’s good to highlight it and the Dwarf Sports Association are good – there’s a national games at the end of April.’

The national games allow kids and adults to compete on a level playing field against competitors who are the same age and suffer from the same condition.

Graham is planning on doing the bike ride over 10 days, May 31 to June 9, and Catriona and Lewis will be diving alongside him as his support vehicle.

Graham said: ‘I’m looking forward to it now. I just need to start my training program.

‘We’ll be averaging about 100 miles on the bike everyday, we just need to build up to that kind of distance over the next month or so.

‘With stops, I imagine I will be riding for, on average, seven or eight hours every day.’

Graham has travelled this route before, in 2009, but he biked from Land’s End to John o’ Groats.

He continued: ‘I’ve done it before, but it’s meant to be a bit harder this way as you’ve got the prevailing winds against you. It should be interesting.’

Charity tins will be situated in Atlantis Leisure and the Pokey Hat in Oban. So far, Graham has raised £1,407.50. To donate, visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/grahamwest1#.vrip00vwsn0.facebook.