A brave multiple sclerosis sufferer who was unable to walk for three months because of his condition is determined to cycle 50-miles to give something back to the charity which supported him.
Darren Collins, from Weymouth, will take part in the MS Trust’s annual sponsored bike ride at the Goodwood Motor Circuit, Sussex, on Sunday.
Darren was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) more than a year ago and, despite being in pain “24/7,” wants to help the charity that helped him through his “difficult” diagnosis.
Darren said: “The MS Trust was so helpful getting the information I needed to me after my diagnosis. I wondered how it was funded and realised it is not government-funded. The MS Trust pays to train nurses and it is not funded. I want to give something back.”
Before his diagnoses, Darren suffered from debilitating symptoms. He says he was told he had a virus, but his condition deteriorated and he spent three months barely able to walk.
He was finally diagnosed with MS, a neurological condition that affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord, in December 2015.
Darren, who has three children aged 14, 11 and nine, said: “I felt like my life was over. I thought ‘this is it. My kids are still young and I can’t play with them.’ It wouldn’t sink in. My wife broke down in tears and we thought ‘what happens now?’
“We didn’t know what to say when we came out of the appointment. As time went on, the MS team got in touch and I stumbled upon the MS Trust. I felt relieved. I could read about the condition.”
Darren utilised the charity’s services and was impressed with the wealth of information he could access.
He is hoping to raise as much money as possible for the charity by cycling 21 laps of the motor circuit.
“I need to help them like they helped me,” he said.
“I do get shakes and lose feeling in my hands and legs. Sometimes I struggle to get out of bed, but I’m going to finish it whether I have to crawl around it.”
Darren’s wife Hannah, who will cycle alongside him on Sunday, said: “I’m so proud of my husband and all he has managed to achieve despite his diagnosis - especially with how bleak it looked eight months ago. He’s an inspiration and a hero to our three children who see his determination every day.”
To donate, visit Darren and Hannah’s fundraising page at virginmoneygiving.com/giving and search ‘Darren Collins’.