Brother’s plight inspires pilot for London marathon

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Virgin Money Giving’s second highest marathon fundraiser, Simon Gauge, has so far raised a whopping £22,000 for MS-UK.

Simon, 45 and from Manchester, was inspired to take on the Virgin Money London Marathon by the courage and bravery his brother Phil showed after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) 12 years ago.

Phil has one of the most aggressive forms, PrimaryProgressive MS. At 42 he requires constant care, he doesn’t have any use of his limbs and is barely able to speak but he never lost his sense of humour. He is my inspiration and in this context running the marathon will be a doddle!’

‘I have never heard him complain, he remains positive and has never given up hope.’

Whilst Simon’s job as an airline pilot doesn’t provide the best conditions for marathon training, the support of his friends and family has allowed him to wholeheartedly embrace the challenge. Having been taken under the wing of his friend Steven Blakelock, Simon has been training by fell running over the Pennines, and whilst he hasn’t pounded many pavements he hopes that the hills will put him in good stead for the relatively flat course in London.

Meanwhile his wife Suzanne and father-in-law Peter have suported his fundraising efforts. ‘They have constantly emailed and chased up everyone we know, as well as organising a lunch at our house for the school mums and grandparents with some fantastic raffle prizes that had been donated.’ Ben and Natalie Bate at Bodypro, Simon’s local gym, also helped organise a marathon to be run on the treadmill with clients paying to run a mile each and Simon’s employer, Monarch Airlines, also donated £1,000 from their matched funding scheme in support of his marathon fundraising, all of which has helped him get so close to his herculean target of £26,000.

‘I’m raising money to provide help and support for people with MS whose family may not have the means to assist them in the battles they face on a daily basis.’

‘In some ways Phil has been lucky to have a loving family to support him, without it I wonder how Phil would have coped at his most vulnerable. Not enough is known about the MS or whypeople get it. Anyone can get it and I want charities such as MS-UK to be there in the future to give the information and support needed to anyone affected.’Sponsor Simon and support his efforts for MS-UK, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/simon-

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