We first met with Rachel Gibson in 2013 when she embarked on a challenging bike ride from London to Paris in order to raise funds for charity. The difference in this is that Rachel was raising money and awareness for the very disease she's battling with, Parkinson's.
Setting out on Saturday, July 1st, Rachel and her friend Netty will begin their 500-mile journey south to London. The fundraising pair is aiming to complete the route in just 6 days, which is enough to challenge any avid cyclist.
"One of the hardest jobs the charity has is dispelling the myth that Parkinson’s is an old person’s disease" - Rachel Gibson
A few years ago, Rachel was diagnosed with Parkinson's at the age of 38. Since then, she's become heavily involved with Cure Parkinson's Trust to help raise funds and support those battling the disease.
After completing the 300-mile cycling from London to Paris in 2013, Rachel has set her sights on a bigger and more challenging route for 2017. Rachel says: "My initial motivation to do this challenge was that last September, I had Deep Brain Stimulation surgery. The decision to have neurosurgery is not an easy one, as it isn’t totally risk-free but life had got quite difficult so there was no other choice available... With the brain implant, I have halved my medication and my symptoms are much better. As I was feeling lots better, I thought now was a good time for another challenge."
Even though Rachel has had surgery to help alleviate some of the symptoms, she's still very much battling the disease for which there is no cure: "I have slowness and stiffness of movement, pain and problems with balance. On a good day, the cycle will be OK. When my drugs decide not to work, my cadence drops dramatically and the challenge will be much more demanding."