A Stoke-on-Trent man, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, is cycling hundreds of kilometres to raise money for charity.
Michael Squire was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2016. At the time the father of three was working as a general hotel manager travelling the UK on a daily basis – a busy and successful career which Michael decided to leave behind in 2019 after 29 years due to the strains on his health.
Now, the 61-year-old, has joined his good friend Kemal Chetitah on a mission to raise money for Parkinsons UK and Asthma UK.
Whilst Michael is aiming to cycle a total of 560km at his home in Meir, good friend Kemal is walking 800km from Saint Jean Pied de port, France to Camino de Compostela, in Spain to raise money for Asthma UK and Parkinsons UK.
“I have known Kemal for a very long time and worked with him during my career in the hospitality industry,” says Michael.
“Kemal is a great friend and is doing amazing walking across France to Spain. Kemal is asthmatic and with me having Parkinsons disease we wanted to do something together to raise awareness and to support the two charities.
“I would not have been able to complete the mountain trek which Kemal is doing, so I decided to take part in cycling which I am doing at home on an exercise bike. It’s better for me to cycle at home because if I feel a bit unsteady I know I am safe at home. And although the kilometres may be testing my legs, it won’t stop me.”
Michael has been cycling around 25-30km each day since he started his challenge earlier this month. Kemal, who is from Northants, started his trek on 23 August, and has been walking for approximately 30km per day. Both will complete their challenge on 23 September.
Grandfather of six, Michael adds: “It is such an important challenge for us both and even though we are thousands of miles apart we speak near enough every day to help to cheer each other on. Parkinson’s is something which me and my family have learned to live with and it is by no means easy. When I made the decision to leave my career in hospitality behind it was because the 60-plus hour week was getting too much for me. There is no real cure for the disease, or for Asthma, so if we can help to raise more awareness we will do whatever we can.”
Kemal, who was made redundant from his hospitality job in July 2020, said: “After being made redundant during the pandemic I took up walking. I wanted to do something positive to help myself and I went out walking each day to keep my mood positive. Being asthmatic, walking can sometimes have its challenges, and I can get short of breath so when I decided to do the mountain trek to raise money for the two charities, it was a big decision to make.”
Kemal, aged 65, added: “It’s great that my good friend has joined me with his cycling and he is doing great. We are in this together and we look forward to doing more challenges in the future to raise money for two charities which are so close to our hearts.”
To support Michael and Kemal’s challenge visit https://www.collectionpot.com/pot/231482/?fbclid=IwAR3zBevG0p4qkYis8NkXN5qmEJcmGHjP2RIVzgG4QieRmvv84j-pTgHvNp0