'I'm not dead yet': Edinburgh dad with Motor Neuron Disease (MND) gears up for epic cycle for Doddie Weir charity
Two years ago, Davy Zyw raised more than £150,000 for charity by cycling the North Coast 500 in four days. A real feat of endurance for any cyclist – but especially for someone who has been living with Motor Neuron Disease (MND) since 2018.
Now, the young Edinburgh dad is getting back in the saddle for his biggest challenge yet – cycling 260 miles over five of Scotland’s highest public roads.
As with the fundraiser in 2020, he’ll be doing so in aid of the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation, a charity set up by Scottish rugby legend Doddie Weir to aid awareness of and fund research into MND.
Beginning the cycle dubbed the ‘High Five’ on August 11, 34-year-old Davy will be accompanied by his twin brother Tommy Zyw, their 29-year-old brother Sorley Richardson, and a group of five friends.
With his fingers now unable to operate regular gears as a result of his condition, the local author and wine expert is able to take on the challenge because of an adapted bike with electric gears.
He said: “I've had the disease for almost four years and I'm not dead yet, so every day is a good day. I want to make the most of every second I have.
“My health is deteriorating, but I’m still cycling. I don’t know how many more chances I’ll have to do something like this again.
“This challenge has never been done before and I think only now am I coming to terms with the gravity of it.
“I’m excited but I’m very nervous. It’s a step into the unknown and I’m not sure how my body will react. I’m taking on a lot but I’m excited.
“I am so lucky to be in a position that I can do this – when I was first diagnosed I didn’t think I’d be alive in four years. I was emergency planning.
“My left hand, left arm, shoulders, and now my right arm are beginning to fail me. The electric gears have been a game changer.
“I have three aims, to finish, raise more money for My Name’5 Doddie, and thirdly to drive as much awareness as possible.
“The more awareness raised, the more people can rally for action which drives progress. Doddie, myself and the MND community need progress. We are nearing a medical breakthrough but the reality is, for us, we are running out of time.”
Davy believes one of the biggest challenges has been finding time to train while looking after his young son, Alek, and working.
He said: “Doing an hour of cycling on your lunch break doesn’t really cut it. You need to go out for eight, nine, ten hours. But thankfully, my wife is hugely supportive and understanding of how much training is required.
“I’m so glad I’m doing this with my brothers and friends. There have been some dark times in recent years, and there will be some dark times on the bike, but they always lift me up with laughter.”