The Oban Times - - DISTRICT NEWS -

Nie­mann-Pick dis­ease…is nt a dis­ease most peo­ple are likely to have heard of but it’s so rare many doc­tors have not heard of it ei­ther.

Nie­mann-Pick dis­ease (NPD) is a ge­netic neuro-de­gen­er­a­tive con­di­tion that has dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences for those who suf­fer from it.

The age of on­set and dis­ease pro­gres­sion varies from per­son to per­son, but ul­ti­mately this in­sid­i­ous meta­bolic con­di­tion af­fects the brain and im­pacts the in­di­vid­ual’s abil­ity to walk, talk, eat and think. At present there is no cure.

Nie­mann-Pick UK (NPUK) is a small char­ity ded­i­cated to rais­ing aware­ness, pro­vid­ing prac­ti­cal and emo­tional sup­port and back­ing re­search into po­ten­tial ther­a­pies and, hope­fully, one day a cure for NPD.

Fundraiser He­len Beveridge of In­ver­ness, took on the huge chal­lenge of swim­ming the length of Loch Awe – 24 miles – in Au­gust to raise funds and aware­ness for NPD and NPUK.

He­len has a per­sonal rea­son for get­ting in­volved: in 2016 her daugh­ters Shona, 17, and Kelsie, 16, were both di­ag­nosed with Nie­mann-Pick dis­ease type C, news that has had a huge im­pact on her fam­ily.

He­len is no stranger to swim chal­lenges such as this, hav­ing al­ready swum the lengths of Loch Lomond, Loch Mo­rar and Loch Ness, but spend­ing more than 20 hours in the 10-14°C wa­ter of Loch Awe wear­ing just a nor­mal swim­suit would test any­one. But cheered on by friends and fam­ily, she con­quered the feat and to date has raised more than £4,000 for NPUK.

Just af­ter the event, He­len said: ‘I swam Loch Awe in 23 hours, 29 min­utes and 55 sec­onds. This suc­cess­ful swim com­pletes my four lochs’ goal: long­est, Loch Awe; deep­est, Loch Mo­rar; big­gest by sur­face area, Loch Lomond, and big­gest by vol­ume, Loch Ness.

‘Thanks go to my crew and ob­server for see­ing this swim through and to my won­der­ful fam­ily and friends.’ You can still do­nate at www.just­giv­ing.com/fundrais­ing/ He­len-Beveridge-swim

He­len Beveridge swim­ming the 23 mile length of Loch Awe.

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