A dad was given a life changing diagnosis after feeling a “twitch” while at the gym.
Ian Cummings, from St Helens, has been an avid rugby player all of his life – turning out for Haydock Rugby League Club – however around 12 months ago, the 44-year-old felt a change while working out at the gym. The twitching in his left arm wouldn’t go away, and even though he thought it was probably just a trapped nerve, the dad-of-two visited his doctor.
But Ian’s world was turned upside down, when he was warned his diagnosis could be severe.
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His lifelong friend Phil Bedson told the ECHO: “He was told quite early on that it could be motor neurone disease, which obviously had a massive impact on his family straight away.
“For us, his friends, it was absolutely devastating news, but it put us all in the mind of wanting to help him. For it to happen to someone you care about so much has been really hard, but Ian has been inspiring to us all in the way he has acted.”
Phil has been friends with Ian since the pair started secondary school more than 30 years ago. He added: “Ian is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. He’s hilarious, I think everyone agrees because he is so popular and well liked.”
The once active rugby player, who shares two daughters with his partner Nadia, now has trouble with his mobility, walking with the help of mobility aids, and as his condition worsens has had some difficulty with his speech. Ian along with his friends, came up with a unique idea to help raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Phil added: “Like most great ideas, it was born while we were all in the pub. We had seen recently that some people in America broke the world record for furthest distance driving in a golf buggy in 24 hours, and thought we should do something like that, while raising money to help fight motor neurone disease.
“We decided we would try to do it at St Helens rugby stadium, in laps around the pitch, and the club has been so helpful with everything and supported us- as well as Carryway Golf Buggy hire, who have provided a buggy free of charge.”
The group of friends will take to the pitch on April 29, and attempt to drive for 24 hours straight. Phil explained: “We might have to switch drivers at some point but we will just see how it goes. We’re just hoping to raise as much as possible, and are currently over £11,000 so every bit helps.”
The group has been supported by various sports stars including Sam Allardyce and former rugby league star Mickey Higham. To donate to the group’s fundraiser, visit here.
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