Brian, 74, dives into fundraising swim to celebrate nephew’s life - The Solihull Observer

Brian, 74, dives into fundraising swim to celebrate nephew’s life

Solihull Editorial 1st Sep, 2023   0

A FITNESS fanatic is marking his 74th birthday by swimming 74 miles in memory of his nephew.

Brian Hopkins is set to make a splash in honour of Mark, who died in 1997 when he was just 17.

Mark was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a life-limiting condition for which there is currently no cure, when he was four.

Solihull resident Brian said: “Mark was a cheerful chap and full of mischief. It was a difficult time when he was first diagnosed aged four. From the age of about 12 he was using a wheelchair and he died when he was just 17 and is greatly missed.

“It was important for me to do something in his memory. I wanted to do something to mark the 26th anniversary of losing him and my up-and-coming birthday, whilst raising funds for a charity that’s doing such important work.

“I may be 73 but I still feel full of life. A long time ago my daughters bought me a song, 18 ‘til I Die by Bryan Adams – and that’s the way I intend to carry on.”

Despite having just over two months until his big day in November Brian has already completed 56 miles, half a mile at a time.

The keen sportsman is fundraising for Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Brian, who is chairman of the Knowle and Dorridge branch, said: “Without the support of Muscular Dystrophy UK, progress on finding cures for muscle-wasting and weakening conditions would be painfully slow. I want to help to speed up the development of finding a potential cure to try to make a better life for those who follow in Mark’s footsteps.

“When Mark was diagnosed it was the first time as a family we’d heard of the condition.

“My brother, John, Mark’s dad, had adopted him, so there was no family history of it.

“John joined the branch soon afterwards and that’s how we became acquainted with Muscular Dystrophy UK.

“As Mark’s needs changed and he needed more care and support, I took over from John as chairman. I’ve now been doing it for 28 years.”

Last year, Brian, along with another three supporters in the four-strong Knowle and Dorridge team, completed the MDUK Pedal Paddle Peak challenge, a triathlon in the Lake District.

Over the years the committee has raised £700,000 through quizzes, barbecues, garden fetes, gala dinners and jumble sales as well as carrying out street collections and house to house collections and participating in local fun runs.

For more or to donate click here.


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