A man who has Parkinson’s disease, determined not to let his condition hold him back, is to take on a half marathon this year to raise money for Parkinson’s UK.

Corporate lawyer Nick Hazell, 44, from New Malden, will run the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon on October 8.

Nick received his diagnosis in June 2015, making him a young onset sufferer, after initially noticing his handwriting becoming less legible, and then increasingly finding walking a challenge.

Nick said: “Clearly my diagnosis was a shock but actually - and this will sound strange – my first thought was relief. After all the uncertainty and worry, I finally knew what I was dealing with.

“I may not have liked the conclusion but I could now find out more about the implications and try to work around and with them. From the outset, I was determined not to let it define me. I tend to think about the here and now rather than the if and the when.

“It hammered home the fact that Parkinson’s is not just an old person's disease. It doesn’t distinguish between age, race, gender, intelligence, wealth, weight or height.”

He wants to challenge the negative connotations associated with the condition.

“The images on the internet of wrinkly hands and elderly figures with stooped postures enhance what I’ve come to realise is a distorted picture,” he said.

“As an early onset person with Parkinson’s, who has a career and a young family, I, like many others have a different set of challenges to face than someone diagnosed in their 60s or 70s and I think there is a need for better understanding of what those challenges are and how they can be supported.”

So far, Nick, with his family and friends, have undertaken fundraising efforts for Parkinson’s UK that have raised over £30,000.

Speaking about the charity, he said: “They are the first line of support and a fantastic source of information and knowledge for sufferers, so a lot of my early research was drawn from them.”

To find out more about his campaign visit virginmoneygiving.com/team/Heroichazellsandco.

To find a charity place for the Half Marathon visit royalparkshalf.com/charities-list.

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