There isn’t much that would persuade two old rivals like Gavin Hastings and Will Carling to pull together but the former Calcutta Cup adversaries will bury the hatchet and unite to fight one devastating illness; Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).
The disease is a wasting one and it affects something like 2,500 children in the UK, the vast majority of whom are boys. The illness takes effect almost immediately, most patients are in wheelchairs by their teenage years and few make it past their 13th birthday. There is no cure.
One former rugby playing father, Ali Robertson, is cycling 1018 miles from John O’Groats to Paris in the course of just eight days, at an average of 127 miles per day, to raise money for Duchenne Children’s Trust (DCT) in the hope of combating an illness which affects his four-year-old son Felix. DCT has already raised £3.5 million towards finding a cure or, at the least, something that will slow the disease’s advance.
Roberston has recruited a host of helpers to the cause including Hastings, Carling, Scottish skier Alain Baxter and Olympic rower Greg Searle. England’s World Cup winning skipper Martin Johnson is also expected to cycle one leg of the tour.
Former Scotland full-back Hastings will host an event at Murayfield on Sunday to greet the cyclists who will have ridden 134 miles from Aviemore in one day. Carling is cycling one leg alongside former Scotland flanker Roger Arneil, who also played four Tests for the 1968 Lions team which toured South Africa. Arneil is a youthful 72 years old, which should at least stop anyone else from moaning about the blisters.
Iwan Tukalo, Roger Baird and Gordon Hunter are all cycling some or all of the trip while Rob Wainwright, Damian Cronin and former England flanker John Hall are joining halfway through Sunday’s stage, having already completed the Caledonian Etape, undertaking a hefty 150 mile shift in one day.
Click here to donate: http://tinyurl.com/zfr77f4