Friday, 15 April 2016

As Happy as Larry

In the 1890s, before boxing was fully legalised, a man called Larry Foley won the biggest prize in boxing, it was a purse of $150,000, equivalent to $4,000,000 today. A New Zealand newspaper ran the story after the win and the headline “Happy as Larry” has gone on to express how we feel when we simply can’t stop smiling and we’re overwhelmed with happiness, a phrase many of us use daily.

Larry Foley
Don’t get me wrong, I have ups and downs like everyone else, just this month I’ve fallen down the stairs. I’m not too bothered by the initial physical effects of a fall, bruising and pain is something I get used to. It’s the muscle memory change or the fatigue that affects me most, one day you can take a certain step or kerb, no problem. The next day that ability has gone and that’s how quickly my Muscular Dystrophy is affecting me this year.

There is no point in going on about this though, there are far too many good things going on that outweigh the occasional mistimed footing or weak knee. I’ll stick to the positivity, thank you.

I’ve said it many times before in conversation and written on paper; I’m a very lucky man. My diagnosis could have been worse, I have some great family and friends around me, life’s good and I never, ever take that for granted.

Since I started my ‘Move a Mile for Muscles’ event in January it just seems to get bigger and better as we go into a new month and a new challenge. There is not a week goes by that I’m not in touch with The Discovery Channel; they are always asking if I’m okay or need any help at all. I never knew that winning a competition (My World Bigger #MYWB) would be this rewarding, but it is and it’s a fantastic bit of security that comes with a feeling of solidarity and team work. The same can be said of Muscular Dystrophy UK, Jo McGuinness is a Senior Manager, Regional Development in the south and again is constantly in touch to make sure I’m okay, safe and happy as these events draw closer.

Of course I’m supported by my ever-suffering wife and our girls as I come up with what some might say is another ‘far out’ idea. And of course my friends have been fantastic, as always. Just this week my friend Jo Entwistle has been running around Leeds organising our route to the First Direct Arena and sorting prizes out for our raffle taking place at The Duncan pub on Saturday evening. I was again, very lucky this week when another friend; Jon Howe put me in touch with Simon Rix. Simon is a member of the band the Kaiser Chiefs and asked us how he could get involved and help us, his attitude was one of open arms, this is greatly appreciated and I feel extremely humbled by it.

So you see that’s why I’m happy as Larry right now and this nicely leads me on to talk about our mile this weekend.

On Saturday 16th April we will take on Mile 4 of the year and set off from the Queens Hotel in Leeds and make our way to the Josh Warrington fight at the First Direct Arena.

Josh Warrington is the current WBC European Featherweight champion and he is a beacon of inspiration for young people in Leeds and beyond. Not only this, he also unites the community around him and has given tireless support to local and grass roots sport, something I consider to be imperative.

I chose to walk to Josh’s fight because in early January when I first started all of this, Josh was there on social media supporting me, and he vowed to join us on a mile in August which we are very much looking forward to. There was no prompting or asking, it was an offer Josh made and one I won’t forget.

You can count on me to be relentless about this condition and its many different strains. Over the last four weeks I have seen 10-year-old Archie Hill walk with me around the Oval in London whilst tackling his own Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. I have had my car washed by a young man called Callum, again with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, who was raising funds for his own specialist power chair, and all the while not one complaint was made and not one moan was heard.

I would like to thank all my friends and family that are helping me this year, far too many to mention. Also, thank you for the many donations. We have raised £7000.00 so far; the equivalent to 200 hours of research, and we need every single minute of that to find treatments.

Finally, good luck Josh Warrington, you should be very proud of yourself, for all that you do and all that you are. You’re an inspiration that certainly keeps me fighting and I’m sure many others too, I do hope that come the end of Saturday night, you are as happy as Larry too.

Marching On Together.

You can follow me on twitter @HywoodMartin

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