Pride of Britain: Essex man raised £1.4m for motor neurone charity and broke pedalo world record

Alex Gibson was a successful accountant, fitness instructor and nutritional therapist when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in 2018 at the age of 39.

Despite the news about his health, he has continued to push boundaries in fitness, and has set up a charity so that people like him can create lifelong memories with their families.

Alex, from Brentwood in Essex, set up Challenging MND in 2019 to provide people living with MND with the opportunity to take part in challenges and experiences including sporting and physical activities, as well as trips away or virtual reality experiences.

Challenging MND has granted over £1.4m and directly supported over 100 families.

Alex Gibson and his team have taken part in numerous physical challenges Credit: Challenge MND

Speaking about his diagnosis, Alex said, "It was very much a shock to the system. But you can always move on and do much more than you actually think you can."

And Alex has lived true to this, completing a series of incredible challenges. From a 50-mile walk, to a double marathon, breaking the world record for pedalling the length of the Thames in a pedalo, to a 24-hour cycle.

Speaking about the 24-hour cycle, his teammate and patron of Challenge MND, Andy Long, said, "The conditions were atrocious. There was just Alex and I out on the bike. Just seeing Alex's fortitude and his never give in attitude, his positivity, it's inspiring."

Tarz Shoker, who has known Alex since 2004 and is also a trustee of Challenge MND, said, "Before he was diagnosed, we always used to do these crazy trips where we would push ourselves physically - 24 peaks in 24 hours - so the basis of these challenges since he got MND, you can see where it's come from in terms of his mindset."

For Alex, the fundraising and challenges already completed is only the beginning.

"We're aiming to have reached £5m in five years time," he says.

"Motor neurone disease is a cruel, progressive disease. The prognosis is about 2-3 years. The main thing for me is to continue to inspire people by challenging myself.

"Despite adversity, you can always achieve much more than you think you can."

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