Disabled Northampton man will row and cycle for two hours straight to raise money for Diabetes UK

The public is invited to come along and support 52-year-old James as well as take part in a raffle and bid for a signed drumskin from rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers
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A Northampton man, whose type one diabetes left him disabled, is rowing and hand cycling to raise money for charity.

James O'Neill, 52, will be rowing and hand cycling for two hours straight from 1pm to 3pm on Sunday, March 20 at the Lings Forum Trilogy leisure centre in an effort to raise money for Diabetes UK.

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The fundraiser will mark 40 years of living with type one diabetes after being diagnosed with the condition at the age of 12.

James O'Neill wants to raise money for Diabetes UK.James O'Neill wants to raise money for Diabetes UK.
James O'Neill wants to raise money for Diabetes UK.

James said: "I am absolutely buzzing and can't wait. Please come along - especially anybody who is diabetic as well because we have a diabetic personal trainer and body builder, who has really helped me.

"People can come and enjoy themselves, we have a disco and a raffle and there's games for the kids as well so it should be really good."

A raffle will be taking place on the day and prizes include signed shirts from the Cobblers football team and Saints rugby team, family tickets to Woburn Safari Park and a weekend ticket for four to The Classic 2022 at the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit.

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A signed drum skin from the drummer of rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chad Smith, will additionally be auctioned off at the charity event. Bids can be made on the day or anyone interested in the drum skin can message James on his Facebook page with their bid.

The fundraiser was initially going to take place on March 6, which marked 40 years since James was diganosed with type one diabetes but it had to be postponed after he contracted Covid.

James was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 12 after he collapsed on a football pitch

His condition since evolved into a number of complications that saw him having his toe amputated due to a diabetic foot ulcer, suffering from diabetic retinopathy - a complication caused by diabetes that left James with tunnel-vision - and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), which is a painful condition that affects the small intestine and can cause diarrhea and malnutrition.

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He was additionally diagnosed with a muscle wasting disease known as Charcot Marie tooth, which caused his feet to change shape and distorted his walking.

James had to give up his dream job at Northampton Town Football Club, stop driving his car and use a mobility scooter to travel to and from places. He enjoys training at the gym, takes online courses at home to keep his brain ticking over and regularly gives talks about his ordeal.

James is on the lookout for a presenter to open the charity fundraiser on Sunday, March 20. Anyone interested can email James at [email protected].

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