In June 2015, at the age of 42, Nick Hazell was one of the 8,760 people in the UK that year to be told they have Parkinson’s Disease.
Although a common perception of the disease is largely associated with the elderly, in fact, 1 in 20 people diagnosed are under 40. As an early onset sufferer, Nick says that he now has more in common with Michael J Fox than simply being vertically challenged:
“It doesn’t distinguish between age, race, gender, intelligence, wealth, weight or height. If it were a company, it would be an equal opportunities employer with a commendable diversity policy.” said Nick.
The progressive neurological condition is caused by a lack of a chemical called dopamine in the brain and symptoms include slowness of movement, muscle rigidity and tremors. It can also lead to a loss of cognitive function and even dementia.
As a positive way of dealing with the diagnosis, the Hazell family have decided to set themselves a number of challenges over the next year, including the Bournemouth Marathon Festival, in order to raise awareness of the disease and aid finding a cure.
“The medication helps replace or replicate the effects of the chemical but it’s a short term fix rather than a cure of which, at present, there is none.” explains Nick’s wife, Victoria.
“We have asked family and friends to join us for the weekend to run one of the 6 races taking place and we hope to have a group of up to 30 running for Parkinson’s UK. Nick and I will run the half marathon and daughters Anna and Lara will take part in the Supernova 5K.” said Victoria.
So far, the Hazell’s have raised nearly £10,000 (including gift aid) but they don’t want to stop there. You can support the family by visiting their Virgin Money Giving page here – http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Heroichazellsandco.
All six races at BMF take place on the fast, PB-potential courses and feature the unique chance to run to the end of Bournemouth’s historic pier and back. Last year 11,000 runners enjoyed a glorious two days with an estimated £0.5m raised for charity. The 2016 event takes place on 1st/2nd October 2016. To guarantee your place, visit www.run-bmf.com.