Dad with Parkinson's climbs Everest twice on his stairs

People stuck at home have been completing all sorts of challenges in their gardens or homes during lockdown.

One of those is Alex Flynn who decided he wanted to use his stairs to climb the equivalent of Everest.

But not content with climbing the world’s highest mountain once, he decided to do it all again.

The father-of-three covered a distance of 42,195m (138,435ft) – the equivalent of 26.21 vertical miles or a full marathon – inside his two-storey home.

The 48-year-old lives with Parkinson’s, which causes uncontrollable shakes and severe muscle contractions. He relies on exercise to relieve his symptoms.

He climbed and descended his staircase more than 3,500 times, completing the challenge yesterday afternoon after just seven-and-a-half days.

He undertook the feat to raise money for Parkinson’s UK, which is currently appealing for financial support to help suffererers during lockdown.

He is understood to be the first person in the world with Parkinson’s disease to attempt such a challenge.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who became the oldest person to reach the summit of Everest in 2009, praised Alex for completing what he described as a ‘Herculean’ task.

He said: ‘Alex should be congratulated for completing this Herculean charity challenge, and I would urge the public to donate whatever it can to show their support.’

And Ben Fogle, who summited Everest in 2018, added: ‘Congratulations to Alex for completing what would have been a pretty gruelling challenge for anyone!

‘Charities are more important than ever in these times, so if you are able, please support Alex for Parkinson’s UK.’

Alex started the challenge on April 24, and he spent 12 hours a day climbing.

Each trip up and down took him 12m (39.3ft) higher, so the challenge required him to complete 1,758 ascents, 1,758 descents, and take around 220,000 steps.

He went barefoot at around the halfway mark to reduce the pain of cramps in his Achilles heel and tendonitis.

As a result of dystonia, a symptom of Parkinson’s that causes repetitive and involuntary muscle contractions, he was also forced to guide his right leg up most of the stairs.

But the whole time he wasn’t allowed to use the bannister to help.

Alex completed the feat in his home in Wantage, Oxfordshire, where he lives with his partner Justine, 47, an artist, at 2.55pm on Friday.

The event was live-streamed on his Facebook page, ’10millionmetres’ – so called because of his aim to cover 10 million metres, by foot, bike or paddle, to raise £1million to find a cure.

Alex reached that goal in 2014 after completing feats including the Marathon des Sables, a 160-mile run across the Bavarian Alps, a 1,457-mile run from London to Rome to meet the Pope, and a 3,256 traverse across the States by foot and bike.

In 2016, he also did 3,762 press ups over 18 days to raise awareness of PTSD.

His latest stair challenge has raised another £3,000 towards his £1million target.

Alex, a former lawyer who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 36, said: ‘This terrible disease robs people of everything they have ever taken for granted.

‘Simple acts like walking and talking can become impossible.

‘For most sufferers, exercise alleviates these symptoms.

‘But the Covid-19 outbreak has left tens of thousands of vulnerable people with Parkinson’s, me included, isolated and scared.

‘I hope what I have accomplished over the last week will go some little way towards helping Parkinson’s UK to help others across the UK.’

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