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Gary’s our Mile for Smile marathon man!

24 Apr 2017

Businessman Gary Brown is a man on a marathon mission – raising much-needed funds to keep patients with Huntington’s Disease on the move.

Gary, UK programme director for Santander, is a marathon veteran and has raised more than £40,000 for charities competing in races across the world, including London, Paris and Amsterdam.

Now he has his sights set on Sweden – competing the world’s ‘prettiest’ marathon on Saturday 3 June when he is raising funds for Mill Lodge, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust’s (LPT) specialist Huntington’s Disease inpatient unit in Narborough, close to where Gary works.

He is supporting Miles for Smiles, the unit’s fund-raising appeal to support the running costs of a specialist wheelchair-accessible Ford Tourneo which has brought new levels of freedom for patients.

Huntington's Disease is an inherited disease of the brain that damages certain brain cells. Damage to the nerve cells in the brain causes deterioration and gradual loss of function.

The vehicle looks like a ‘home’ car and can be driven by staff on a normal licence, but has an automatic wheelchair lift and can accommodate the patients’ specialised wheelchairs. Without it, patients would have fewer opportunities to get out and about.

Gary has set a fund-raising target of £1,000 - and will ask Santander to match it, as part of their community fund-raising programme.

Alana Barby, matron at Mill Lodge, said: “It took us eight years to raise the funds for the vehicle which we took delivery of in January. Before we had it we had to borrow a tailgated mini-bus for outings and were restricted because we couldn’t get it into

A number of our patients have specialised wheelchairs. This vehicle can carry three passengers and a patient in a wheelchair comfortably and has given our patients so much more freedom.

Gary is currently running 40 miles a week to train for Sweden and will be waved off by staff at Mill Lodge on the morning of Friday 2 June.

He said: “I run regularly for charity and always try to find a cause I am connected to. Mill Lodge is part of the community where I work and Huntington’s Disease could one day impact on any one of us and take away some of the freedom we enjoy.

“Without the specially adapted vehicle the patients at Mill Lodge might seldom be able to leave their base and we are looking to raise funding that will extend the lease on their specially adapted car which can accommodate the larger moulded wheelchairs they need, which can’t be accommodated by disabled taxis.

“It’s a privilege to support their Miles for Smiles appeal and so something which might raise awareness of the disease within Santander, and of Mill Lodge among my Narborough colleagues while raising funds to help Huntington’s Disease patients enjoy things we all take for granted.