Lack of funding delays pair's research bid to row Pacific

Oxford firefighter Darren Taylor

Oxford firefighter Darren Taylor Buy this photo

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Didcot and Wallingford. Call me on 01865 425425

A BID by a man with Parkinson’s to row the Pacific with a school friend to aid research into the disease has been put back due to lack of funding.

Alex Flynn and firefighter Darren Taylor were planning the 70-day trip from California to Hawaii this year as part of an Oxford Brookes University study.

Researchers hope his experience will help them better understand how sufferers cope with physical and mental stress.

The pair were due to fly off on Tuesday but have now put their entry in the Great Pacific Race challenge back to next year to raise more cash.

Gaynor Edwards, a spokeswoman for the two, said they were “several thousand” short of the £70,000 target.

Mr Taylor, who works at the Rewley Road fire station in Oxford, plans to still row the route later this year in a four-man crew.

He and Mr Flynn met at Wallingford School aged 11 and went on to study together at Henley College.

Mr Flynn, 42, from Goring, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s aged 36. He was unavailable to talk about the setback last night.

Mr Taylor, 41, said: “By taking part in this year’s Great Pacific Race, with Team Battleborn, I will gain invaluable experience in advance of next year’s challenge with Alex.”

He hopes it will raise the profile of a group being set up by the two, Spotlight YOPD (Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease), to raise awareness of young sufferers.

And the test monitoring equipment will get a trial run during the challenge.

The Charlbury father-of-two added: “The UK is doing some incredible research through the Cure Parkinson’s Trust but there seems to be a lack of understanding among the public, maybe because it’s pigeon-holed as a condition associated with the elderly. The youngest UK case we have heard of is nine years old.

“We can raise awareness through Spotlight YOPD and hopefully make a positive difference to many lives.”

The Great Pacific Race begins on June 7. For more information, visit pacificrow2014.co.uk Visit facebook.com/rowbillyrow if you can help with fundraising for Mr Flynn and Mr Taylor

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