A tale of two cities from Paris to London 

18/04/2012 00:00 

Carrying only a spare change of running kit, a GPS tracker, a foam cylinder for massaging aching limbs and a box of painkillers, charity runner Neville Parnell has embarked an epic challenge of eight marathons in eight days.

Sue Fell - Clinical Nurse Specialist Urinary Diversions (running London Marathon), Jeremy Ockrim - Consultant Urologist, Carolin

Sue Fell - Clinical Nurse Specialist Urinary Diversions (running London Marathon), Jeremy Ockrim - Consultant Urologist, Caroline Donaldson - Staff Nurse T6 ward (running Paris Marathon), Neville Parnell - Running Paris Marathon, running from Paris to London, running London Marathon, Sir Robert Naylor - UCLH Chief Executive, Julie Jenks - Urology Clinical Nurse Practitioner

Starting with the Paris Marathon on Sunday April 15 and finishing with the London Marathon this Sunday, Neville is spending this week running between the two cities to raise funds for his charity.

For the last mile of his run on Saturday, the day before the London Marathon, Neville will be joined by two members of staff from University College Hospital (UCH), where he was treated.

Nurses Caroline Donaldson, from Brixton, and Sue Fell, from Penge, were in the medical team which treated Neville. They will run alongside him for a mile as he ends the penultimate leg of his challenge at the steps of UCH.

The aim of the challenge – a total of around 260 miles in eight days – is to increase awareness of urological conditions such as those which affected Neville until as recently as 2009.

Following successful reconstructive surgery to his bladder at UCH in London, Neville took up running and has since completed a series of physical challenges.
In the process he has raised more than £22,000 for his Parnell Fund charity, a fund within UCLH Charity, which raises funds for the hospital unit in London where he had vital work performed on his urological system.

During 2012 Neville, who owns a garage in Hanham, Bristol, hopes to hit his fundraising target of £50,000, at the same time raising awareness of the urological disorders which affect up to six million people in the UK each year.

The Paris-to-London epic is by far his toughest challenge yet and comes in a year which will also see Neville running other events in London and New York as well as joining the medical team who treated him, led by surgeon Jeremy Ockrim, in their attempt to climb Mount Olympus in Greece.

He will be spurred on by support from comedian John Bishop, who recently completed a similar challenge, cycling from Paris before rowing across the Channel and running to London in aid of Sport Relief.

John Bishop wishes Neville luck on his Facebook page and has also posted links to Neville’s own fundraising page.

Neville said: “I’m feeling fairly confident that I can do it. It’s just a matter of slowing down my pace from what I’ve been training at and just plodding on through.

“I’ve trained really hard, going out on cold winter nights after a long day at work, six days a week until sometimes later than 10pm. Even on my day off I’ve been cross training up at the local gym.

“I’ve got my mileage in training up to 80 miles in one week but for this challenge I’m going to be doing 235 miles in eight days. So it’s going to be really tough but I’m sure I can do it.

“I'm really motivated to do this. After suffering for so many years from complex urological problems my life was transformed thanks to the skill and dedication of the surgeons at UCH. Now I’m not only trying to raise money for surgical research but also trying to break down one of the last taboo subjects of the 21st Century, to get people to talk openly and freely without embarrassment and seek the treatment they require.
“These conditions affect so many people but I want to let people know that they can be treated.”

The funds Neville raises will enable research and treatment to continue at the specialist urology unit at UCLH.

Neville suffered daily discomfort, pain and inconvenience before a series of operations at the hands of Jeremy Ockrim, consultant urological surgeon at UCH, part of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) in 2009.

The extensive treatment and surgery involved a bladder reconstruction to increase its size, the repair of a large hernia which followed the previous unsuccessful operations, and the removal of a 2cm kidney stone.

Neville now has an artificial sphincter at the top of his bladder which is activated by a pump when he wants to pass water. A segment of his bowel was used to provide a channel from his abdomen to his bladder, to allow him to insert a catheter when required, and he has had Botox injected into his bladder to prevent spasms from occurring.

He is aiming to add significant amounts to his existing fund throughout this year.  This is made easier by new technology which means that £5 donations can now be given to Parnell Fund given by texting PARNELL to 70700.  The alternative channel is through the website http://www.parnellfund.com.

Jeremy Ockrim says: “Neville has done amazing fundraising work for the Female and Reconstructive unit at UCH over the past couple of years and this run from Paris to London is going to be an incredible achievement.

“Clinical research is critical to understanding urological conditions and improving treatment and therapies. This is why the research at UCLH is so important not only for the care of patients at UCLH but also others in the UK and abroad.

“We’re all wishing Neville the best of luck on this run and for his future fundraising efforts.”

Facts and figures:

  • Neville’s 260 miles is like running around Bristol’s Harbourside 108 times
  • Running at approximately six miles an hour Neville will be running for an average of five-and-half hours per day
  • Neville will taking around 138,000 strides with each leg between Paris and London
  • Neville’s running will burn around 29,500 calories in total – the energy that is in 108 Mars bars

Neville's itinerary

Day 1, Sunday 15th April: Neville will be among 40,000 participants at the start line on the Champs-Elysées for the Paris Marathon. Afterwards he will keep on running to Colombes. 44 miles in total.

Day 2, Monday, 16th April: After a good night’s rest, it's an early start negotiating 34 miles of the rolling French countryside to arrive in Lavilletertre.

Day 3, Tuesday, 17th April: Another day, another early start for run from Lavilletertre to Montroty. A full marathon of 26 miles.

Day 4, Wednesday 18th April: 34 miles to complete before Neville arrives in Pommereval.

Day 5, Thursday 19th April: A comparatively short 24 mile dash to Dieppe and then a blissful four hours of relaxation on the channel ferry to England. On arrival Neville faces a gentle 7 mile run to Telscombe. Only 3 days left! But a tough day of running awaits tomorrow.

Day 6, Friday 20th April: 33 miles of undulations to negotiate before arriving at Lingfield Park. Only one more day to go before Neville arrives in London.

Day 7, Saturday 21st April: After another 33 miles Neville arrives in London, finishing on the steps of the University College Hospital where he was treated. Only the eighth and final marathon to go. Supporters of the Parnell Fund will join Neville for the last mile.

Day 8, Sunday 22nd April: The end is in sight - only 26.2 miles left to run in Neville’s first London Marathon. You can follow Neville's progress on Facebook or Twitter as he makes his way along the route. Please add your messages of support and encouragement to keep him focused and on track.


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