Tackles Race to the Grand Final!
Jimmy Gittins join Prescott’s Race to the Grand Final!
Steve Prescott’s relentless pursuit in raising funds and awareness for his charities continues when he embarks on his toughest challenge yet, The Engage Mutual Race to the Grand Final. Prescott, who is no stranger to battling adversity, since being diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer, will be joined by Jimmy Gittins who has had to endure his own share of misfortune.
Jimmy Gittins suffered serious spinal cord injuries playing rugby league and where told they would never walk again. He has since gone on to defy doctors’ opinions and has got back on his feet, despite initially being paralyzed from the chest down.
He will take part in the “Quadrathon” which involves, swimming the width of the river Humber and the river Mersey. Participants will also have to cycle from Hull to Liverpool, before an 18 mile run to Runcorn Bridge, where they will then Kayak 26 miles to the Grand Final at Old Trafford. The challenge will be held over just a 48 hour period in which to complete it.
All proceeds raised will go to the Christies Cancer Hospital and the Try Assist Benevolent Fund, which Jimmy has strong links to. The Try Assist Benevolent Fund was set up to help seriously injured rugby league players. Jimmy, who has done previous fund raising events, admits that this will be his hardest yet.
Jimmy explains: “I have come a long way since my accidents, but still suffer from a degree of paralysis. Because of the level of my injury, I was diagnosed as Quadriplegics, which means all four main limbs where affected. Although I can walk, with the aid of crutches, I have limited function in our hands and upper arms too.
An independent Quad bike ride around the country, sponsored walks and a parachute jump, are just a few fund raisers that Jimmy has undertaken along with the Carnegie Challenge in 2009. For Jimmy, the former Wakefield and Dewsbury player, this year marks the tenth anniversary since he broke his neck playing for Sharlston Rovers. He wants to mark this occasion by testing himself in the most extreme of challenges.
Jimmy added “Try Assist has done wonderful things for myself and a number of other seriously injured rugby players. Most people will have been affected by Cancer in one way or another and it is important we continue to support the great work that they do at Christies.
“The challenge is going to be extremely difficult, because in the past running up to the event I have only had to train for one specific thing, but this has four different events. I will have to change things slightly in order to complete it. Instead of running the 18 mile, I will complete that part of the challenge on a hand tricycle. How I complete this challenge is not important, the fact that I am taking part in something to help others is!
“For me, the swimming part is going to be the toughest because we only have 45 minutes to get across. I have been training lying flat on a surf board, which will make this part of the challenge achievable for me. I will be quad biking through the night, which might not sound difficult to others, but with the disabilities that I have, I can assure everyone it is. The hand tricycle is something I have never done before and it will take a lot of training to get up to speed. I have signed up for the Great North Run this Sunday, I am sure this will give me the practice that I need to take part.
“It will be ten years since my accident and by taking part in these sorts of challenges, it means I am still achieving things in my own life, which others said I never would. I also like to think that people lying in their hospital beds, can read about the challenge and gain inspiration from it.
“It’s all about turning a negative into a positive and that’s exactly what Steve has done. He did not have to do what he’s done and no one would have blamed him if he had just carried on with his own life. But by achieving the things he has against adversity, it spreads positivity and effects people to want to do better and I admire him for that.”
This will be Prescott’s 2nd gruelling event of the year after already completing the Paris to London challenge. Steve was joined by Paul Sculthorpe as the pair ran both the Paris and London marathon’s and rowed the English Channel in-between. This time they will be up to 30 participants involved and Steve is delighted that Jimmy and Pete will be two of them.
He said: “It is fantastic that Jimmy is taking part in the Engage Mutual Race to the Grand Final! He is such an inspiration to many people who have severe spinal injuries. I am so proud of both of him. It is going to be a tough extreme challenge for the fittest person but even more so for Jimmy. I am sure they he will get through the event like the rest of us, we will pull together!”
Please keep up to date with Jimmy’s Blogs that can be read on steveprescottfoundation.co.uk
To sponsor Jimmy’s inspirational challenge please go to www.justgiving.com/jimmy-gittins