A South Tyneside soldier has completed a 24-hour punch bag challenge in aid of a Sunderland youngster living with a life-limiting medical condition.
Little William Calvert has Duchenne muscular dystrophy - an incurable muscle-wasting disease.
The Wearside youngster who will eventually be wheelchair bound will be lucky if he lives beyond the age of 30. His parents Rob and Caroline Calvert have launched a drive to support more research into the condition.
After hearing of their plight Staff Sgt David Cook, who is also William’s uncle, decided to take on the mega challenge to raise funds for further research.
For 24-hours the 53-year-old from South Shields, who is also a PT instructor with the Army reservists, hit a punch bag mixing it up with sit-ups and press-ups within the gym at the TA unit in South Shields.
He said: “Little William has been my inspiration for this and hopefully we can raise enough money to continue research and one day hopefully find a cure.
When I wanted to pack in, as it was very hard, I just kept thinking of William and didn’t want to fail him,David Cook
“Throughout the 24-hours I’ve had a lot of support from the lads at the Army unit who have been coming in and helping to keep me motivated.
“But what has really kept me going is William. He is four-years-old and is unaware as to what’s going on. He’d got this horrible muscle-wasting disease and he is going to end up in a wheelchair and his life expectancy is about 27. When I wanted to pack in, as it was very hard, I just kept thinking of William and didn’t want to fail him.
“Doing this challenge was very hard, both physically and mentally and at the end of it, I was totally drained.
“The first half wasn’t too bad, it was when you started to get into the early hours that’s when it really hits you. It has been really, really hard.”
William, who attends Castletown Primary, was diagnosed after his parents took him to a walk-in centre last December after discovering a lump in his neck. Further tests revealed the genetic disorder.
David is no stranger to fundraising. He has taken part in the Great North Run dressed in full combat gear, walked the length of Hadrian’s Wall and completed the Lyke Wake Walk.
Last year, he rowed on a static machine for 24-hours at the army hall to raise cash for the Royal Artillery Charity Fund.
To find out more visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/david-cook-in-for-will