AN East Lancashire man suffering from the same syndrome as the ‘Elephant Man’ has set his sights on a charity bike ride this summer.
Damian Bradley, 31, from Darwen, was born with neurofibromatosis, a rare genetic condition caused by a mutant gene which varies from person to person and limits physical abilities.
He suffers from similar difficulties to those thought to have ravaged Joseph Merrick, born in Leicester in 1862, who had severe deformities and was exhibited as a human curiosity named the ‘Elephant Man’.
Damian, who is currently studying for his English and maths GCSEs at Blackburn College, also suffers from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, has a hole in his heart, a tumour pressing on his spine and has had three heart attacks.
Now, despite his health problems, Damian is organising a bike ride on exercise machines in aid of the Neuro Foundation which helps support people suffering from neurofibromatosis.
He is appealing for volunteers to help him complete the 669-mile distance which is equivalent to riding from John O’Groats to Lands End.
Damian, who has had to take a range of medications all his life, said: “I’m held together by sticking plaster and I know that it will cause me a lot of pain but it’s something that I’m determined to complete.
“I’ve always wanted to do something for charity and I’ve previously tried to enter the London Marathon but my doctor advised against it.
“I want to raise at least £1,000 and I know that I can’t do it on my own so I’m appealing for volunteers to help me.
“I think they whole challenge could take about two days and It would be amazing to complete this.
“I want to be proud of something and this is a great opportunity for me.”
For more information or to donate to Damian’s challenge, visit www.justgiving.com/damianbradleynf82