Law student Christian gears up to cycle around Holland for charity

A Bangor University student who suffers from a rare genetic condition is set to undertake a gruelling 182-mile bike ride for charity.

Christian Bolton-Edenborough, from Potters Bar in Hertfordshire, suffers from Lawrence Moon Bardet Biedl Syndrome, which affects his eyesight and will ultimately render him blind.

The condition affects one in 100,000 babies and can also cause other symptoms such as obesity, serious abnormalities of the kidneys and other organs, problems with hearing and smell, extra digits on hands and feet, and learning difficulties brought on by delayed bodily development.

To raise awareness of this rare hereditary syndrome, the Law student will join four other riders on Monday 27th July to cycle 182 miles around Holland in three days.Law student Christian Bolton-Edenborough will cycle 182 miles for a charity close to his heartLaw student Christian Bolton-Edenborough will cycle 182 miles for a charity close to his heart

“I’m very excited about taking part in the ride and making a decisive contribution to increasing awareness and raising funds towards finding a future cure”, says 21-year-old Christian, who will cycle in aid of the Laurence-Moon-Bardet-Biedl Society. “I started training in early November, and it has mostly been endurance-based training to improve my core stamina to cycle longer distances at a faster pace. This has been achieved through cycling distances of between 40 to 70 miles and running three to five miles.”

As a student on Bangor’s LLB degree in Law, Christian has faced a few challenges as a result of the condition. “Not being able to see letters and words clearly unless at close range has sometimes made attempting to study for long periods very difficult, and the glare of the white paper in textbooks often causes me headaches”, explains Christian. “The other main challenge has been concerned with exams and time management. With my eyesight slowly deteriorating, the ability to read and take in the words and scenarios of problem questions has been challenging in exams.”

The University’s Disability Unit has been key in helping Christian overcome these difficulties, by arranging extra time for his exams, offering extended library loans and providing exam papers with enlarged text. He also acknowledges the support he has received from his law lecturers: “two members of staff have been particularly supportive. The first is Dr Yvonne McDermott-Rees, who was my dissertation supervisor this year. During the course of writing the dissertation she gave me great support and guidance in regards to the structure, but she’s also offered encouragement in fighting my condition. 

“The second member of staff is Mr Stephen Clear, my personal tutor. Since I was diagnosed in October, he has been extremely supportive, making it possible for me to attend my specialist appointments in London and to defer exams when needed.”

Christian has made the most of his time at Bangor University, taking part in extracurricular activities such as the Law School’s ‘Street Law’ project and representing the University at the Welsh Open Universities Pool and Snooker Championship earlier this year as part of the first Bangor team to ever reach the final. He credits this balance between academic study and social events with transforming him into the confident young lawyer he is today: “I have come on leaps and bounds in terms of confidence, achieving things I did not feel possible and making lifelong friends”.

Such is his newfound sense of confidence that he intends to pursue a Masters in the Law of the Sea, with a view to becoming a solicitor or perhaps progressing to a career in academia.

The next big challenge is his charity ride, and with less than a week to go, he has already smashed his £300 target. But Christian wants to raise every penny possible for LMBBS. “The money raised will be used to help this independently-funded charity to carry on providing an amazing support network for sufferers. This includes their annual clinics in Birmingham and London, where specialists from every medical field related to the condition come together to provide high-quality care and medical attention.

“Their other need is in terms of research. There is currently no treatment for the condition, but there are signs of a potential gene therapy drug that would prevent its progress.” 

Christian’s challenge starts on 27th July. To read more about his mission or to make a contribution, visit www.justgiving.com/Christian-Bolton-Edenborough

Publication date: 21 July 2015