Wigan supporter Ken Flewitt is getting on his bike in July to cycle to every club in Super League for a cause close to his heart.
Flewitt, a 56-year-old retired police inspector, will start the 1,100-mile trip from Perpignan in the South of France and finish 17 days later in Wigan, when the Warriors take on Catalans.
The mammoth trek – which Ken has planned and will complete on his own – is in aid of five-year-old Bella Morris, who suffers from a condition that only affects a few hundred children in the world.
Leukoencephalopathy – or Vanishing White Matter Disease as it is more commonly known – is a rare genetic condition which causes the gradual reduction of Bella’s functions.
It means that she has now lost the ability to walk, the use of her arms, and her speech is drastically reduced.
Bella’s cognitive functions remain active, meaning she knows that she is different from other children her age.
Bella’s family are all enthusiastic members of the rugby league family as well and are also keen Wigan Warriors supporters.
Her brother, Tyler, plays rugby league at Chorley Panthers with Ken’s son Jacob.
Ken explained: “I came up with the idea to ride round the Super League grounds one day on the touchline while watching my son play.
“After a few phone calls by one of the ‘rugby mums’ it developed into an inescapable reality!
“My intention is to raise awareness of this horrible disease and to raise money for the Rainbow Dream charity to assist the research into finding a cure.
“There is an Israeli professor – Professor Orna Elroy-Stein in Tel Aviv – who is leading research into the disease and needs the funds raised to progress her work.
“I also want to raise money for Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley, who have provided immense help to Bella and her family, like they do for so many families in a similar position with children suffering life limiting or life shortening conditions.”
Ken’s challenge hits the road from Catalans Dragons’ Stade Gilbert Brutus on July 11, and finishes at the DW Stadium on July 27.
It will cover 1,100 miles, 800 of them in a gruelling trek through mountainous France before taking in the 11 English Super League clubs.
To sponsor Ken on his ride, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/superleague-ride-for-bella-morris