University of Leeds staffer to cycle across America from New York to San Francisco to raise money for his mum with MS

A man who works for the University of Leeds is to cycle some 3,900 miles across America next week, from New York to San Francisco, in honour of his mum.

By Alex Grant
Sunday, 17th April 2022, 4:45 am

Antony Butcher, from Ilkley, West Yorkshire, will start his journey in New York on Friday, April 22 and travel over 3,900 miles to San Francisco.

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It will see him cross 17 states and tackling the height of Mount Everest, twice, all by himself.

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Antony is taking on the challenge in honour of his mum, Teresa, who lives with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Antony is taking on the challenge in honour of his mum, Teresa, who lives with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Teresa was diagnosed with MS when Antony was 14 and he has been fundraising for the MS Society for almost 20 years.

“There’s nothing I can do to help my mum but I hope that by raising money for the MS Society it will support other people living with MS and critically to support research into MS so that we can get to a point where other people don’t have to go through some of the challenges that me and my mum have had to face." he said.

"Every day she loses a little bit more of her ability and independence. She’s lived in a nursing home since 2013 and has been in a wheelchair full time since about 2015. It’s been devastating to watch the impact of this neurological condition just slowly strip away the ability for my mum to live the independent life that she always wanted to live.”

This will be Antony’s biggest challenge to date and he has raised £13,000 of his £20,000 target so far.

“I’ve cycled Land’s End to John O’Groats twice, climbed Snowdon three-legged with my wife and I’ve ran the London Marathon – well ran and hobbled. I’m always thinking about what it is I want to do next." Antony said.

“The challenges I’ve taken on previously I’ve often got to a point and thought why am I doing this? Why don’t I just go home, I don’t have to do this? But my mum, like thousands of people with MS, can’t wake up and say I don’t want this today and that is what drives me to keep doing whatever I can to raise money for the MS Society.

Antony works in student support at the University of Leeds and has led on student support and wellbeing activities in various Schools.

He also won a University-wide award in 2020 recognising his dedication to raising mental health awareness and supporting individuals at the University.

"All of the pain will be worth it if the money I raise can help in any way to lead towards stopping MS.” he added.