FUNDRAISING champion Dean Reilly has celebrated becoming the Capital’s Local Hero by running the Edinburgh Marathon and securing a deal to design his own tartan.
The 35-year-old from Newcraighall was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) four years ago and has vowed to do everything he can to raise money for the MS Society Scotland.
On Sunday, Dean completed his sixth marathon in the Capital, and is now preparing to become the first person in the world with MS to complete the gruelling Arch to Arc challenge.
This will see him run 90 miles from the Marble Arch in London to the Dover coast, row 20 miles to Calais and then undertake a 180-mile cycle to the Arc De Triomphe in Paris – all in just a few days.
And over the next week, Dean will meet with the manager of Edinburgh shop Slanj to begin designing his own tartan.
The purpose of the project is to create a lasting legacy should he become too ill to complete fundraising activities.
Honoured during Friday’s Local Heroes awards ceremony at the Assembly Rooms, Dean told an audience of over 300 people that, when he was diagnosed with MS, it was either “fight or flight”, adding that “there was no way” he would let the condition beat him.
His award acceptance speech has since been shared almost eight thousand times since it was posted to Facebook.
He said: “I’m not going to accept MS beating me, I’m not going to sit back and feel sorry for myself.
“It might be hard, and it might be sore, but I’ll continue for as long as I can.”
Speaking about Arch to Arc, Dean, the father of three, said: “I’m having sleepless nights already thinking about the rowing. Running in the heat the other day at the Edinburgh Marathon was challenging so hopefully it isn’t as hot during Arch to Arc.
“I’m so humbled to be named Edinburgh’s Local Hero, it really means a lot. I have so many people to thank who have helped me get to where I am today.
“I struggled a bit during the marathon because I had been partying on Friday night after the awards, but I still did what I set out to do.”
Dean said he hoped to start work on his own tartan this week. “The idea is that every time someone wants to hire something with my tartan, for example a kilt, a small amount of money will go to the MS society for Scotland,” he said.
“Should I ever become too unwell to participate, this will be a lasting legacy, and money will still be being donated to the charity.”
He added: “I’m planning on contacting some top fashion designers, you just never know what’s around the corner.”