My good friend Alex Flynn (www.alexflynn.co.uk) is aiming to traverse the United States of America by bike, foot, swimming, kayaking, climbing and if necessary crawling(!) later this year as part of his 10 Million Metres cause. Alex is 40 years old, a father of three young boys and has Parkinson’s Disease. Undaunted by the diagnosis, he has set himself the goal of raising £1 Million to help fund research into finding a cure for Parkinson’s by running, cycling and swimming 10 million metres across the planet over the next few years.
What is amazing about Alex is the fact that he wants every penny donated to go to the charities and he refuses to take any percentage of the donations for the not inconsiderable expenses incurred in covering the 10 million metres. This means that he either funds the cost of undertaking events around the world himself or, if he is lucky, obtains sponsorship from individuals and companies that are willing to back him.
In the past he has been fortunate to receive some generous sponsorship from sports equipment suppliers in the form of gear that he can use during his expeditions as well the loan of vehicles from Volkswagen for support crew and some financial backing from the deVere Group, which helped make the 1457 mile London to Rome run in 2011 a success.
Alex devotes an amazing amount of time training for ultra-distance events and works all hours of the day promoting the cause and trying to gain financial support for his challenges and raising awareness for Parkinson’s disease and those afflicted by it. I really do not know where he finds the time or has the energy to do what he does! Undeterred by the number of times he has been told, “Sorry, we do not have the budget to assist you at this time but we wish you every success in the future with your ventures”, Alex soldiers on and keeps on going in the quest for financial and logistical support for his mission.
Alex isn’t famous and doesn’t have the luxury of an agent or professional organization to sort out the immense amount of planning needed to set up the complicated itinerary undoubtedly needed to run, cycle and swim across a major continent.
We have all seen the amazing endurance events that various celebrities have achieved in the past few years and been blown away by the amount of money they have raised for very worthwhile causes.
It is rather sad though to realize that the amount of money raised is directly related to the celebrity status level of the person involved in the fund-raising activity. The more famous you are, the greater the publicity, the more support you will receive, and thus the greater the amount you will raise. Surely, the cause for which the the fundraiser is undertaking an arduous event should be the most important factor in the equation rather than the level of fame of the participant?
Alex Flynn is as deserving a fundraiser as any other out there …. no, sorry, that’s wrong; he is MORE deserving than most because he is afflicted by the disease for which he is fund-raising to find a cure AND he works his butt off organizing support and logistics for the events AND busts his ass completing some of the most gruelling physical challenges one can imagine.
His latest planned venture, the Trans America Challenge, is a massive 3,563 mile undertaking. Even though there is a lack of financial and logistical support at this moment in time, Alex has said he is going to start from California at the beginning of September 2012.
I don’t think any famous celebrities would consider doing this.
This is why I have so much respect for Alex Flynn and why I urge anyone who reads this to think seriously about what they could do to help make the Trans America Challenge a reality.
Are you or your company in a position to provide logistical support/mobile accommodation facilities across the USA? Are you interested in just turning out on the route to give encouragement? Do you know any cycling clubs or running clubs that want to get involved? Whatever you think you can offer, even if it is just ideas and contacts, then get in touch with Alex (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Oh, and if you are a famous celebrity ….. that would be ever so good!