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Me and Dad in the Early 1980s

Me and my Dad in the Early 1980s

Welcome to the 15th anniversary of the worst day of my life, the day I lost my Dad to cancer. I’m not sure the I know the words to even begin to describe how much I love this man: my father, my hero, my mentor, my friend. I nearly used the word “loved” then, but the feelings I have for my Dad will always be with me even if his life on this earth has passed.

I suspect I could write several books about the impact my Dad has made on my life and the effects of losing him when he was just 50 years old and I was aged just 22, but for now at least I will try to keep this post fairly brief.

It’s funny, having lost weight and improved my health in the last few years lots of people ask how I’ve achieved this, yet very few (if any) ask how I gained the weight in the first place. At the time my Dad died I was a newly wed, young, healthy 22 year old who went to the gym most days and felt fit enough to take on the world. Then my whole world simply broke. One of the cornerstones of my very existence was gone and I had no idea how to cope with it. I won’t bore you with the full details, but lets just say that I thought that if was nearly half way through my own life then I was going to live it. Unfortunately I was misguided with the lifestyle that followed, thinking that living the good life was drinking more, eating whatever I liked and not “wasting my time” in the gym.

More than 10 years later I looked in the mirror and saw an old fat guy looking back at me. This wasn’t the good life the adverts for all the food and drink I’d been consuming had promised. I had the flash car, the fancy clothes, etc. but I sure as hell wasn’t living a life that made the most of every precious day.

My Dad was my inspiration for so many things in my life, but most of all he inspired me to be the best Dad I can be. When I saw that fat, sick guy in the mirror I feared that my kids would lose me too young and I simply could not allow this to happen, so I took control of my own future and changed my lifestyle.

When I was a kid I watched my Dad run the Southampton Half Marathon in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust – my cousin’s son Adam had been diagnosed with CF just a few years before. 25 years later I followed in his footsteps by completing the Great South Run. I swear he was looking down on me as crossed that finish line and in my heart I know he would be proud of the man I have become.

I remember back when he died people talking about the grief I was going through and talking about “getting over it”. I don’t think you ever get over losing a loved one, but instead you find a new normal that enables you to carry on and be the best person you can.

My Dad stills lives on in me, my brother and all those who’s lives he touched. There is not a day when I don’t think of him.

I love you Dad. Rest in Peace.

Neil xx

Cystic Fibrosis A Race We Must Win2013 Miles in 2013

I am doing my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as I have been surprised since I started fundraising for the CF Trust just how many people are unaware of this disease and so I hope my efforts will not just raise money, but also awareness of the UK’s most most common life-threatening inherited disease.

The first person to commit to sponsoring my 2013 mile challenge has committed to 1p per mile (£20.13 in total) and this got me thinking. I am hoping that as many as possible of those reading this will commit to do the same and the best thing is, if each person does this on a “pay as you go” type approach all you will need to part with is approx £2 just after each pay day. In January I completed 205.9 miles, in February I completed a further 200.9 miles and in March I completed 185.7 miles. If you can please spare £5.93 to help the Cystic Fibrosis Trust it will be greatly appreciated.

The easiest way to give your sponsorship is to visit my Just Giving page:

2013 Miles in 2013 – The rules

The rules for my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge are quite simple:

  1. All miles must be completely self powered (no motors, sails, etc)
  2. I must be able to evidence all miles, either via GPS or with a picture of any static gym equipment

To complete my 2013 miles I will be running, cycling, rowing and who knows, I might even try a few other self powered methods along the way.