A Scottish man with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) has raised nearly £60,000 for charity by cycling the globe - without even leaving the country.
Cycling 1600 kilometres in under 10 months is no easy feat, especially when living with MND – a terminal illness, which causes increased muscle weakness.
However, this is exactly what Calum Ferguson, from Dunblane, has achieved.
Mr Ferguson began his fundraising cycle - using an exercise bike in his home - in December last year, averaging nine kilometres a day. This is the equivalent of cycling from John O’ Groats to Stoke on Trent – and he isn’t stopping there.
He has now raised nearly £60,000 for MND Scotland in donations to his JustGiving page, using his savings to hire a specialist rehab cycling machine as part of his exercise regime, which he says has been transformational.
Mr Ferguson was diagnosed with MND in 2010, which as a husband and father of three, was devastating. However, he decided not to give in easily to the disease.
I’d like to share my experience in the hope of helping, and giving hope, to othersCalum Ferguson
“As an MND sufferer diagnosed 5 years ago, my experience shows that a lot more than you think can be done to help improve the lives of people with MND.
“I’d like to share my experience in the hope of helping, and giving hope, to others” he said.
Since his diagnosis, Mr Ferguson has been fighting the condition, continuing to work and spend time with his family on trips all over the world.
He eventually became wheelchair bound and then seriously ill in 2012.
He said “Amazingly, due to the combination of good care, equipment, and physiotherapy my condition improved and has pretty much stabilised. Now I have limited mobility but I am still able to talk normally and eat a good, albeit modified diet.”
“I can use the computer via specialist equipment, which enables me to control my computer with my eyes and voice - this gives me full access to the internet and the ability to type.”
“But there are many MND sufferers out there who through lack of resources have access to none of this - something that needs to change, and soon”
Funding shortages from statutory services mean essential equipment isn’t readily available for patients with terminal conditions like MND. MND Scotland currently bridges the gap with an equipment loan service, however, more resources are required to cut waiting times and make sure everyone with MND is receiving the vital equipment they need for a better quality of life.
Due to the lack of resources, all of the money Mr Ferguson raises for MND Scotland will be spent on much needed equipment.
Mr Ferguson added “MND is a condition that is life limiting and brings a lot of hardship to sufferers and their families. It’s important to focus on research but for those of us who won’t live long enough to benefit from it, care and equipment are vital.”
Craig Stockton, Chief Executive at MND Scotland, said “What Calum has achieved in such a short space of time is phenomenal. At MND Scotland we rely on the support of people like Calum to raise vital funds and awareness of the disease and we can’t thank him enough. The money raised will buy vital pieces of equipment that make a huge difference to the lives of people with MND”
Mr Ferguson was recently visited by his MSP, Keith Brown, cabinet secretary for infrastructure, investment and cities, who said: “As Calum’s MSP, I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with him to discuss his fundraising campaign and the reasons behind it - I found it a very insightful meeting and I am more than happy to support his efforts.
“First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has already undertaken to review all aspects of care for MND patients and the £700,000 she announced last month to double the current number of MND specialist nurses, will mean that MND Scotland will be able to use resources on other things like specialist equipment.”
To donate visit: justgiving.com/Calum-Ferguson1/ where he will be updating his distance cycled weekly.
Text donations can be received through JustTextGiving by texting CALC51 £10 to 70070.