SUPERFIT grandparents Ryk and Bev Downes are getting ready to complete a gruelling series of challenges to raise awareness of a rare genetic illness affecting their one-year old grandson.
Ryk, a Lib Dem councillor for Otley and Yeadon, will take on four challenges to raise money for the Lily Foundation, which supports families affected by Mitochondrial disease. He will be joined for two of the challenges by wife Bev.
The pair’s grandson Cory has the rare and incurable disorder, which affects children’s development, stops cells being energised and can cause a wide range of health problems.
The tot started life being tube fed through his bowel and stomach. He responds to sound and vision but can not control his bodily functions. His immune system is also weakened, leaving him susceptible to picking up bugs and viruses.
To raise money and awareness, Coun Downes will complete the Leeds Half Marathon next month alongside his wife.
He will then go solo to take on a 69 mile ultra-marathon from Carlisle to Newcastle, before climbing the 5,865 metre Mount Kilimanjaro in September to mark his 50th birthday.
His wife will then rejoin him to run the Yorkshire Marathon in October.
The pair want to raise a minimum of £2,000 for the Lily Foundation
Coun Downes said: “The physical pain we will go through when completing the challenges is nothing in comparison to the emotional pain the families of sufferers of Mitochondrial go through.
“The Lily Foundation raises awareness of the disease, provides support for the families affected and researches into a cure.
“It truly is a worthy cause.”
To donate, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Downes2014.