28 Apr, 2021#112 Putting Parkinson’s Disease on Top of Mount Everest with Alex Flynn
Let us know more about Parkinson’s Disease and how Alex Flynn fought it for over 14 years.
How he crossed continents, jungles, deserts just making an impact around the world and raise awareness of Parkinson’s and funds for Parkinson’s awareness and Parkinson’s UK.
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Pete Cohen 0:02
Beautiful day, it is the Mi365 Podcast. Today we have an incredible guest, Alex Flynn, who is Alex Flynn, you're about to find out what does he want to do. He wants to put Parkinson's disease. On top of Mount Everest, this is such an inspirational story, I'll see you after the theme today. The big question is, how is some people
Pete Cohen 0:31
Today, creating the result that health, wealth and happiness. Mi365 podcast is dedicated to giving you those answers, as you go from living alive by chance to extraordinary life by design.
Pete Cohen 0:51
So Alex, thank you so much for joining me today, how are you?
Alex Flynn 0:55
Pete Cohen 0:57
So tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you
Alex Flynn 1:04
a live in near Oxford, I'm a 49 year old adventurer, with Parkinson's disease. I've been some crazy crazy adventures,
Pete Cohen 1:17
and tell us how. Tell us how you and I met
Alex Flynn 1:21
on clubhouse house. Yeah, clubhouse, and then a room at five o'clock every morning and I've unfortunately missed it a couple of times this week so sorry Bella,
Pete Cohen 1:32
Alison, it's all good tech, it was amazing when I heard your story, I thought this is a story that has to be told because you want to put Parkinson's disease. On top of the world on top of Mount Everest, why, why do you want to do that, why do you want to go and climb Mount Everest.
Alex Flynn 1:49
Well, I've crossed continents, I've crossed jungles, I've crossed deserts. Where do you go when you cross continents and deserts and jungles, gonna go up and you might as well pick the biggest thing around. And hopefully, I'm making an impact impact on the world, raise awareness of Parkinson's and funds for Parkinson's awareness and Parkinson's UK.
Pete Cohen 2:14
So tell us a little bit about Parkinson's disease because I think it's one of those conditions that people have an idea of what it is but just tell us how did you find out that you heard it and tell us, you know, what did you do when you found out, tell us a little bit about that.
Alex Flynn 2:32
I always thought Parkinson's disease was an old person's disease. But reality is it doesn't discriminate. It encompasses every age, color, creed, religion, anything else, he could imagine, the youngest ever diagnosed was a two year old boy. More Parkinson's diseases is about, it's about rigidity that simply in a nutshell. It's not about waving your arms around like crazy thing. Having shakes that's generally your medication. But the problem is is that it takes away everything that most people take for granted, walking, talking, writing, swallowing, sleep, sex, over everything because you're losing those these little cells in your head these things called neurons that produce a chemical called dopamine. And once you get low with neurons, about 70% dead. You start getting Parkinson's. And I got diagnosed on the 12th of June 2008 At the age of 36. And I remember the consultant neurologist. Gosh I managed to say that right neurologist. I remember him telling me and say, I'm sorry claims to fame, you've got Parkinson's idiopathic Parkinson's disease. Idiopathic meaning that they don't know the origin of it. There's nothing we can do for you. There is no cure. We're just going to manage your decline. We'll see you our patients. Thanks a fucking bunch. You know, I mean if I had cancer, you know, Millan would be there. There'll be support, there'll be somebody to turn around and say, there is a there's there's there's there's support that works for you. Is that what's going to happen there advances, give you hope. There was nothing. I don't remember driving home. When I got home I Googled on Wikipedia and I have to say, I was the worst thing I could have done I just read the Legion of potential symptoms, and I cried, and I went into a really dark place for a matter of months. I was so down, depressed, I was so low. Nothing seemed to matter. And then it was my kids turning around to me and saying, We love you dad was a matter of asking myself that question What's the matter, I worked out myself that if I didn't help myself. I couldn't help them. If I couldn't help them, I couldn't help others. So I set about training to run them out in the saddle, which is what I've already signed up to before I got diagnosed, and I ended up in Morocco. Morocco. Morocco and Sahara and got lost. 5 million square miles with his own Miami offering to return off water all the dark dry food in the world. And therein lies another story that was in my book that I've written, which hopefully will be published and people can read it, but it's taken me around the world. You know I could have said, Oh, woe is me I've got Parkinson's, but it's been equally my worst thing that's happened to me, as well as the best thing that's happened to me. Yeah, it's it's it's focused my attention on what I need to achieve. I've raised awareness times in the center million households worldwide. I've run across Europe 1457 miles in 30 days with 400 miles of those stress rates for my tibia, and ran the first 20 marathons in 10 days 160 miles across the Bavarian Alps in 52 hours with an hour and a half sleep across 3256 miles of America in 35 days. Yeah, he's in four different disciplines come first grab to do that around the Amazon jungle the Dolomites nuclear the Colorado Rockies. Done a distance of about 270 marathons. And if you told me before I got diagnosed. Oh yeah, you go out and do all these things. Only said pull the other one is Cobell zone.
Pete Cohen 7:26
Yeah. So now you know what's next. It's Everest right what do you need in order to make that happen.
Alex Flynn 7:35
I need funding and funding and funding so I can train funding, I can get kid funding that I can get travel to their funding to pay for lead climbers. It's not just health risk. There are three mountains before ever so I need to climb the summer. I'm going to climb and then travel to Nepal to put our climb on near a peak and then a couple of months later Mount himlung, which is to try and get altitude experience. I'm using breathing apparatus on himlung will give me the final experience, so that when we hit Everest is those going to be no doubt that I'm going to have the skill sets and ability to do it. My disease. And what do people
Pete Cohen 8:26
need to do in order to be able to help you, how do they contact you. I want to get that
Alex Flynn 8:30
in there straight away from my Instagram, Alex Flynn.
Pete Cohen 8:34
Okay we will make one double and we'll make sure we put that in the show notes, and I know that there's a few videos I was watching one of your TED Talks that you've done. So tell us, you know, I've heard you speak about Parkinson's disease and what's that, what that is like, you know, in terms of a world shutting down and it really made me think of, not just people that are suffering from Parkinson's disease, because other people have that experience of shutting down. Whoa, that is kind of coming in but I think some of those people perhaps have more choices in terms of how they think what they can actually do physically compared to people that actually have Parkinson's disease but tell us a little bit about what the world is right for people that have had this condition.
Alex Flynn 9:22
I think the best way of taking it is take your left hand can't take your left hand. Take the fingers the left hand and placement in the palm of your right
Pete Cohen 9:35
in the palm. Yeah.
Alex Flynn 9:39
Now, holding the fingers tight with your right hand. Yeah, moving your left fingers if your left hand wobble them wiggle them. Yeah, you feel the rigidity. Yeah, that's like Parkinson's. Yeah,
Pete Cohen 9:54
that's what it's like for you. Right,
Alex Flynn 9:57
everything, everything takes so much more effort so much more energy. I don't stop moving people with Parkinson's don't stop moving on a cellular level. We're always moving 365 7days a week, 24 hours a day.
Pete Cohen 10:12
Is it painful as well?
Alex Flynn 10:14
Well, it can be it can be this, it can be it can be dreadfully painful. I get dystonia, which is in combination with the muscle contractions my right leg. I think the biggest issue that I've had with that was when I did London Marathon, for the second time in 2018 Yeah, I'm 10 miles in my, my medication decided not to work. And my foot started on my legs started clambering over in his little boxes in the road as if there were boxes literally there, went down it slammed my foot into the floor, into the road into the tarmac. For the next 16 miles to there was blood coming out of my foot.
Pete Cohen 11:05
That would count but you carried on right i mean this this
Alex Flynn 11:09
finished in seven hours, 10 minutes five seconds.
Pete Cohen 11:12
So, what amazes me about about you is your ability to carry on because you must have done with all of these crazy adventurous activities that you've done. There must have been multiple moments where you're in pain and you felt like giving up is that right.
Alex Flynn 11:27
Yeah, I mean running across Europe with a broken leg, that was, was absolutely horrific, you know, deep down, as long as you keep going, your legs eventually going down.
Pete Cohen 11:41
And what do you, I know you've already kind of alluded to this, but I'd love people to understand. What are you fighting for what is it that you want to have happen as a result of your endeavors, your quests.
Alex Flynn 11:55
I want to raise money and awareness for Parkinson's UK.
Pete Cohen 11:58
Alex Flynn 12:01
America the Parkinson's foundation.
Alex Flynn 13:05
That realization and we can all be exceptional. That I think is something, try to achieve as well.
Pete Cohen 13:16
I think you already are, because I mean I know so many people that are inspired by you. And, yeah, I mean I've heard you tell your story, quite a few times now, but that's not really that important to you is it in terms of people thinking that you're great, you know you've got a much bigger mission and I suppose. When you were talking before I was thinking about you know the Coronavirus how they found a vaccine very quickly because there was a big enough need for it. If there was a big enough need for finding a cure for Parkinson's disease. You know, Maybe that would already be here. Who knows, maybe we'll take someone like you to get on top of Mount Everest to say that they stop mucking about with this let's get on with it. Let's find the cure.
Alex Flynn 13:58
I think the one thing that most people don't understand about Parkinson's is the fastest growing neurological disease in the world, you know, thinking. Yeah, the morning when in the morning 15 is going to experience Parkinson's in their lifetime. Yeah, it's
Pete Cohen 14:15
a ticking time bomb, isn't it, it makes you think about what's going on with the way that we're living our lives, that, you know, my wife had a brain tumor and you know people don't tell you this but it actually says on the phone if you look closely enough, basically says, Don't do this. It actually tells you not to do that. It actually says hold the phone away from your way from your ear because of radio activity. But who does that, you know, and it's like, I mean, again, this is a much deeper conversation and you know what I would encourage everybody to do is first off, follow, Alex, you know, go deeper into his story connect with Alex and ask him the question What can I do for you, because this is the greatest thing that we have is we can still help each other, and we could all help Alex, get on top of Mount Everest so that we can see him up there. However we see him and we will actually be there with him, saying that we were actually a part of what he did. And I think it is only through heroic actions that people take and people actually take notice and you've actually helped me understand a little bit more about why you would go to these lengths, you know, why not just petition, why not raise just raise a bit money but no I think it often takes actions like this for people to, to really take notice, is that right,
Alex Flynn 15:35
right there. Yeah, I agree. If I put some numbers on it. In America, in 2016 they paid, they spent $576 billion on their military same year they spent 280 billion on neurological disease. Now imagine the fact that he's going to explode, and it's going to increase the amount of money that's going to take from the state where where's that money going to come from. Yeah. And what happens to those people who have Parkinson's that need palliative care, or looking after. Well, they're not going to be able to afford private medical cover. Yeah, people are going to have to give up their jobs to look up to their loved ones, which increases the burden on the state. Yeah well we have better treatments that allow people with Parkinson's or neurological diseases become productive members of society. And having those other members and family members and carers, come back into society, make a positive, positive contribution.
Pete Cohen 16:42
Yeah. So let's all get behind Alex, I would encourage you when Alex's book comes out, we obviously want to read that follow him on Instagram, go and check out the TED Talk, once you have a website as well extend you
Alex Flynn 16:55
Alex Flinn Koto UK have a podcast, which is big P and me,
Pete Cohen 17:03
the big P and me talking about me as in Pete Cohen
Alex Flynn 17:07
Oh yeah, of course, yeah.
Pete Cohen 17:10
I ask everyone who's listening or watching parts of what we put out, go and go to Alex's website, follow him on Instagram, ask the question what can we what can I do, what can I do to help you. This is part of that process for me to get this out there that someone might listen to this in some part of the world and go. Alex, I'll help you. I'll give you what you need because there are people out there if enough people know about this, people will go, I'm going to help you. Alex, I really want to thank you for sharing just some of your story I know there's a lot more to it and I am excited to be a part of your, of your journey. And I want to thank you so much for kind of joining us today for the podcast.
Alex Flynn 17:53
Thanks Pete, it means a lot to me.
Pete Cohen 17:56
No worries, this, this, let's get it out there.
Alex Flynn 17:59
Okay. Keep moving.
Pete Cohen 18:01
Thanks for listening to the podcast, look I'm super excited we have just launched a brand new 30 Day kickstart challenge. It's absolutely free, and it allows you to
Pete Cohen 18:12
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