a DUFFIELD man is running from his Derbyshire home to Switzerland to raise £20,000 for a breast cancer charity.
Gerard Varin, 47, of Ferrers Crescent, will run the equivalent of a marathon every day as he covers the 739 miles from Duffield to Seleute, the village in Switzerland where he was born.
Gerard, landscape gardener, decided to take on the Herculean task after six of his friends were diagnosed with breast cancer.
Gerard said: “In recent years there have been six ladies in Duffield diagnosed with breast cancer - which given the population of 5,000 is astounding! To make matters worse they have all been in their 40s with young families, some of whom are still at primary school. “The last person touched by this devastating disease counts amongst my closest friends. I have seen, first hand, the harshness both the disease and the gruelling treatment can have.
“Apart from feeling unable to help, except through moral support, I felt I had to do something. My epic run to Switzerland is it!
“This adventure is a big physical and moral effort for me. I am doing this fundraising to help to detect cancers earlier, because nobody is immune to this dreadful disease. I lost both of my parents to Cancer at the age of 59.”
He lives with wife Helen and children Philip, 17, Claire, 15, Olivia, 13, and Charlie, 12, in Duffield.
Helen said: “I think it’s marvellous. He’s very passionate about it. He lost both his parents to cancer. They were far too young. We have had so many friends over the last ten years who have had it. Most of them were under 50 which is quite shocking. But they have fought it and gotten through it.”
Gerard is hoping that his previous experiences in marathons will help him complete the run by his target date of May 1. He has previously completed the London Marathon on three occasions and is training regularly.
Before he starts his epic run on April 1, Gerard is holding various fund-raisers in Duffield. The first is on March 16 and will include live music and a disco. All 130 tickets for the event have already been sold.
The public will be able to follow Gerard’s journey online at www.anglo-suisse. net, using a GPS tracker.
To donate, visit www.just giving.com/Gerard-Varin.