May 09 at 00:00
Ged Lynn, 39, has cycled from John O’Groats to Lands End to raise money for the British Tinnitus Association (BTA).
His 900 mile journey took him through 26 counties and some of Britain’s most stunning and remote countryside. He covered approximately 50 miles per day and carrying little more than a tent, bag, and sleeping bag he stayed in campsites along the way.
Ged, from Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, chose to support the BTA after being diagnosed with tinnitus in 2009. “There was no cause; I simply went to bed one night and heard a noise like a distant propeller plane in my left ear, and a hissing in my right.
“The next morning it was gone, but the same thing happened again that night and the next, and on the third morning, it was there to stay. I still don’t know what caused it, but what I do know is that I feared I would never be able to read a book again (I hope to do a PhD in the near future), and being a musician I was scared that all I would be able to concentrate on was the hissing.
I learned that alcohol makes it worse for me, which is a common side effect, but further than this, I felt alone for about six weeks, until I heard about the North East Disability Forum Tinnitus Group in Shiremoor, near Whitley Bay. What I remember about that first meeting I went to was an overwhelming sense of sharing the problem with the ten or so other sufferers who were there that night. I was particularly taken by the experience of the only guy there younger than me, a 22 year-old student called Anthony, who had had tinnitus for six months after going to a loud club. It was so great to tell people who understood that I burst out blubbing in relief, which was an unexpected event for a then 36 year-old man!
It took about three months to get the famous ‘habituation’, whereby I didn’t immediately notice the hissing, as my brain was cutting it out in favour of more interesting, external ‘normal’ noises. I found ‘doing things at a particular pace’ stopped me thinking of it, and that spurred me on to do a 300-mile walk from Tyneside to Guildford in August that year.
It wasn’t strictly a charity walk- it was more of a ‘prove it to myself that I can get on with things’ event, whilst promoting a local heritage site here in Jarrow. The fact that the walk wasn’t for tinnitus, coupled with the further fact that I’ve always felt sorry I wasn’t able to attend subsequent meetings at Shiremoor regularly, and advise those others who were newly going through what I had, has always made me eager to do another ‘endurance event’, this time for tinnitus. That’s basically the backdrop to this cycle ride.”
Ged comments, “If anyone en route wants to help me out anywhere with somewhere more comfortable to stay than a tent, it’ll be greatly appreciated! This certainly promises to be a journey I’ll never forget!”
Ged has set a fundraising target of £500, which could enable the BTA to provide 250 information packs about tinnitus for a person who has been newly diagnosed. Donations large and small can be made through Ged’s JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/Ged-Lynn. Every penny donated will go directly to the BTA.