Councillor Ryk Downes takes on a year of challenges for Lily Foundation

Bev and Ryk Downes, with daughter Sherri and their  grandson Cory

Bev and Ryk Downes, with daughter Sherri and their grandson Cory

First published in Local news

A Pool-in-Wharfedale couple are taking on a series of tough physical challenges this year to raise money for a cause close to their hearts.

Councillor Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) and his wife Bev will be attempting a mixture of half, full and ultra marathons, along with a mountain hike for the Lily Foundation.

The charity helps those affected by mitochondrial disease, a rare and incurable condition with which the pair’s baby grandson Cory has been diagnosed. Cory lives with his mum, Sherri, and five year old brother Austin in Otley.

Ryk and Bev are aiming to raise at least £2,000 over the year and are urging people to support them at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Downes2014 .

They said: “Our 14-month- old grandson Cory has been diagnosed with mito-chondrial disease, which sadly has no cure.

“The Lily Foundation has been set up to offer support to families affected by this horrible disease and also help fund research, so that one day a cure might be found.

“Our first challenge for 2014 is for Bev and I to run the Leeds Half Marathon on May 11, when I have set a goal to complete it in under two hours and take 20 minutes off my best time.

“The second challenge is for me to complete my first ultra marathon and run 69 miles, from Carlisle to Newcastle, in RatRace’s The Wall event on June 21.

“The third is for me to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and its summit on my 50th birthday on September 26.

“Finally Bev and I will run the Yorkshire Marathon on October 12, when I am aiming to do it in under four hours and take 50 minutes off my best time.”

Otley fundraiser Mel Metcalfe is also supporting the family’s fundraising by organising a fashion show and sponsored skydive – with more details available on the Taking To The Skies For Cory Downes Facebook page.

Mitochondrial disease is a group of disorders caused by failing mitochondria, the parts of body cells that generate energy.

Symptoms include poor growth, loss of muscle, visual, hearing and neurological problems, learning disabilities and heart disease.

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