When Steve Foster‘s son, Austin, was diagnosed with a life limiting illness in 2015, he pledged that he wouldn’t stop until he helped find new treatments to help him.
And, true to his word, the Horsham man has taken part in nine epic fundraising challenges since 2015, for Harrison’s Fund, a charity which funds research into Duchenne, the form of muscular dystrophy that Austin suffers from. Over this time, he has raised nearly £40,000 towards the charity’s work.
In 2016, Steve, from Horsham, cycled 300 miles from London to Paris, 115 miles as part of the King of the Downs event in the South East of England, the 90 mile Etape du Tour in France, and ended his challenges with the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 – all over three consecutive months. In 2017, Steve undertook the Alpine Challenge and then colleagues from around the world joined him again at Prudential RideLondon. In 2018, he tackled The HotChillee Dolomites and The HotChillee London to Paris within one month of each other, and now he is traversing from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean across the Pyrenees in 100 hours, as part of the ‘Raid Pyrenean’. He will be joined on the challenge with friends Graham Harvey, 57, from Leigh on Sea and Martin Astle, 41, from East Lancashire.
The 44 year-old, who works for The Siemon Company, has been fundraising for the charity over the last four years since his son, Austin, was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy shortly after his second birthday; he is now just five years old.
Steve said: “Three years on from Austin’s diagnosis and his (and our) life changes every day. We attend lots of hospital appointments for speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and, most importantly, his medical trial which takes him to hospital every week for an infusion of medicine. On the outside he still looks like our little boy, but inside we know the clock is ticking against us and Duchenne is slowly starting to ravage his little body. No parent should face what we are having to and we won’t stop trying to raise awareness and funds for Harrison’s Fund until we have better treatments and, ultimately, a cure for this horrendous disease.
“We’ll be riding over the Pyrenees Mountains from Biarritz on West Coast France to Perpignan on Mediterranean, in 4.5 days. I’m looking forward to riding in the Pyrenees as I’ve not been there before and there are some very famous mountains from the Tour de France, like the Tourmalet – which is meant to be a brute! So I’m looking forward to that and also riding this with Graham and Martin. Hopefully its going to be tough, but rewarding, with amazing scenery and also riding from Biarritz on the Atlantic to Perpignan on the Mediterranean should, hopefully, be an amazing achievement and something I can’t wait to share with Austin.”
Raid Pyrenean occurs over the 1-5 July and will see Steve and his friends conquer the infamous Tour de France cols of Tourmalet and Aubisque. The 735km route encompasses 12,840m ascent.
Harrison’s Fund raises money towards research into Duchenne – a rare genetic condition which affects all the muscles in the body, causing them to waste away. The charity was set up in 2012 and its goal is to get as much money as possible into the hands of the world’s best researchers, who are working to find a cure for Duchenne. The charity is currently funding 16 research projects in the US and the UK.
Steve’s wife, Maxine, has also taken on a number of fundraising challenges for the charity, most recently completing the Surrey Half Marathon and Brighton Marathon, raising nearly £19,000 to date.
Heather Smith, Head of Fundraising at Harrison’s Fund, said: “We continue to be amazed by Steve and Maxine’s support. Each year, they push themselves physically and emotionally with these challenges to help us reach our ultimate goal of a world without Duchenne. Their outstanding efforts have seen them raise just over £60,000 towards our work.”
To support Steve, please visit: https://give.everydayhero.com/
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