The inspiring story of a former Southwick Cricket Club member, who has raised more than £50,000 to help research a cure for the rare neurological condition affecting his daughter, is the driving force behind a 22-mile sponsored walk.
Richard Bradford’s 16-year-old daughter Megan was diagnosed Friedreich’s ataxia two-and-a-half years ago and now relies on an electric wheelchair.
Richard said there was no cure for the disease, which is degenerative, and said: “It’s devastating. The only thing you know is that tomorrow, you will be worse.”
Knowing this spurred him to action and over the last three years Richard – who had gained a lot of weight since his Southwick cricket-playing days – took up cycling and lost 11 stone in order to take on fundraising challenges.
The 50-year-old, who works in hospitality,has cycled from London to Paris and even up Mount Snowdon – raising a total of £52,000.
While at first the funds went towards making sure Megan had what she needed, now they go towards research.
“We’ve got to cure this thing – it’s nasty,” Richard said, adding that any breakthroughs to stop Megan’s condition getting any worse would be ‘amazing’.
Ian Morley, an old friend of Richard’s from their cricket-playing days, was so impressed with his efforts that he decided to plan a charity walk in aid of Ataxia UK.
The walk will go from Middleton to Portslade on Friday, April 19, passing through Shoreham and Southwick and stopping at cafes including La Patisserie in Shoreham’s East Street.
Ian said: “My son’s slightly younger than Richard’s daughter – to try and imagine what they are going through, to face what they are facing, it’s heartbreaking as a parent.”
He said of Richard: “You can’t help be inspired by him and what he is trying to achieve.”
To donate, visit www.ataxia.org.uk/fundraisers/ataxiacc