Father and son step out for MS

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A BOLTON man is linking up with his dad to raise much-needed cash.

Antony Sumner’s fiancee Gill, 33, is battling multiple sclerosis, after being diagnosed a decade ago.

Gill’s first symptoms of the troubling condition that affects nerves were pins and needles, and headaches, said Antony, 37, of Manor Way.

“There are many variations of MS and it can take years to develop, or accelerate quite suddenly,” he said.

“Some sufferers may not even know they have it, while others could find they have severe difficulty walking or even wake up blind one morning.

“It attacks the nervous system and is totally unpredictable.”

Because of the dire need for more research into the disease and how to treat it, Antony decided to take action.

He will walk 268 miles of the Pennine way from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland, to try and raise over £2,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

He chose a sponsored walk because Gill has difficulty walking, and he hopes to demonstrate some of the same courage and energy on the walk, as his fiancee does on a daily basis.

Antony, an environmental and occupational health and safety consultant, has taken two weeks off work to do the sponsored trek, and roped in his dad Christopher Sumner, 64, to do it with him.

Various friends will join them for short stretches along the way. Even little daughter Anna, who will be three when they attempt the walk at the beginning of August, may take a few steps with them.

“Dad’s a marathon runner and is generally much fitter than I am, so I’m likely to be the one who’s lagging behind,” laughed Antony.

”We hope to do the walk in 12 days with one rest day half-way through.

“We’re funding our own effort and would be grateful to any individual or business who feels able to sponsor us. It’s vital to try and get to the bottom of this debilitating disease, and to find better treatments or even a cure.”

It has been a real learning curve since Gill found out she had MS, added Antony.

“We are quite lucky in that we are near the Sheffield Royal Hallamshire Hospital and it is a leading research and medical centre for this type of condition.

“Unfortunately, Gill has it and it’s one of those things. You just have to get on with it and hope for the best.”

Multiple sclerosis is the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults in the UK. Around 100,000 people have been diagnosed with a form of MS, but another 500,000 may have it without being aware.

MS is the result of damage to myelin - a protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres of the central nervous system. When myelin is damaged, this interferes with messages between the brain and parts of the body.

To support Antony, visit http://pennine-way2012.moonfruit.com