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Fixing Dad team continue to influence the medical world

The Fixing Dad team’s inspirational approach to tackling Type 2 diabetes continues to make waves in the medical world.

What started out as a campaign to fix their dad has now seen Ian and Anthony Whitington – and, of course, dad Geoff – become three of the most influential voices in the nation’s battle to understand Type 2 diabetes.

The family spoke at the recent Guild of Health Writers’ meeting where the topic of the evening was: Can diet really cure diabetes?

The Whitingtons showed a trailer of their brilliant, emotive documentary Fixing Da, which charted their ultimately successful battle to reverse Geoff’s Type 2 diabetes.

The film concludes with Anthony and Geoff completing the 2014 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 – barely a year after Geoff was warned that he was in danger of having a foot amputated.  

Anthony Whitington told the assembled meeting of health writers and medical experts that a healthier diet alone was not what saved their dad.

Instead, it was a combination of changing his eating habits, getting him on his bike to start exercising again and setting him a target, to complete the 2014 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100.

“We are excited about diet but exercise for dad was a big thing,” Anthony said. “It gave him more of a purpose and a goal to work towards.

“We lined up in Prudential RideLondon 2014, against Hurricane Bertha, and we did it again this year. People asked ‘Why did you do it again? Why are you going to put your dad through all that again?’ But they missed the point. For dad, cycling became much more than that. It was the wind at his back, the sun on his face, it was more time with his wife Marilyn, and his grandchildren and with us.

“It was never about crossing the line. It was about the journey and the belief that you can aim to do something and you can reverse this disease. If this challenge had not been there, we would have struggled.”

Anthony went on to tell the meeting that more needed to be done to educate the public about diet – and that both he and brother Ian had gone through a journey of discovery as they went about 'Fixing Dad'.

“It’s not just our little story, it’s a national story,” he said. “What wins out is the beacon of hope.

“We had difficult times. I was diagnosed as being pre-diabetic and through the process I reversed that. My dad was diabetic and he reversed that.

“There is a picture of dad in 2013 and a picture of him after the 2014 Prudential RideLondon. It was the classic before and after shot and the one the press all wanted to use. But we came to dislike them. It is often said that a picture tells a thousand words, but a picture can also silence a thousand words.

“We have got a food industry that gives little or no attention to health and a healthcare system that pays little or no attention to nutrition.

“We set out to fix our dad and it opened our eyes to the things we were doing personally and we never thought about. But thank God we did.”

The Whitingtons then spoke about the Fixing Challenge, which will be part of the 2017 Prudential RideLondon event.

Four families will be mentored for seven months up to the 2017 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 by the Whitington brothers who will film their progress.

Anthony said: “We want people to ask the question, ‘Who will I miss when I’m gone and can I help fix them now? Can I make a difference?’”

Applications for the Fixing Challenge are now closed and the chosen riders will be announced in January.