Recently, philanthropist John Caudwell announced that he was offering to donate “a million pounds plus” to be used for Lyme disease research, and reminded everyone that he hopes his own philanthropy will inspire others to do their own part, too.
22-year old biology graduate George Peirson has vowed to do just that. Not one to do things by halves, he is undertaking the Ironman triathlon this month, consisting of swimming 2.4 miles, cycing 112 miles and then running a marathon.
“Having never done a triathlon before,” says George, “never cycled even half that distance, never run a marathon and currently still trying not to drown in a pool, I am well aware that I have thrown myself in at the deep end. A lot of people have said it is a bit of a rash and foolish decision – I would very much agree with them. Having committed to the event I now have no choice but to give it my best shot.”
George has vowed to attempt this feat to raise money for Caudwell LymeCo’s research fund after seeing his brother Charlie laid low by this disease. On leaving university Charlie went to China on a scholarship to learn Mandarin, and it was there that he contracted the disease.
“I’m pretty severely affected by Lyme disease on a daily basis,” says Charlie, of Richmond near London. “I have been housebound for the last two and a half years, with most of this time spent confined to my bed or the sofa, as I cannot stand or sit up for very long. My wonderful parents, and occasionally my brother, have been my main caregivers throughout this period. It’s been a very challenging time for us all as a family.”
Like John Caudwell, and others who have seen first hand how Lyme disease can ruin lives, George wants to turn this traumatic experience into something constructive.
“Charlie and I have always been incredibly close,” explains George. “Over the last few years the whole family has become far more knowledgable about the condition and the ramifications it can have. It is, however, still a disease that is somewhat unheard of by a large majority of people.”
“I wanted to take on a significant task to get people talking about the disease,” says George, “as well as raise money for a worthwhile cause. The Caudwell LymeCo charity seemed like the perfect match due to both funding research as well as educating the public about the dangers of Lyme.”
Brother Charlie added: “I think it’s amazing that George has chosen to undertake this challenge. I’m so grateful that he is helping to raise both awareness for Lyme disease and money for much needed research into it. The training for an Ironman is tough and incredibly time consuming. He’s traded the late nights and beers for early starts and protein shakes. I have to say I’ve been surprised and impressed by his commitment and effort over these last few months. I’m sure he will smash it on the day.”
If you want to chip in and show your support for George, please visit his fundraising page. If you make a donation you will be able to leave him an encouraging message, too.