The Fixing Challenge: How two brothers helped their dad reverse his type 2 diabetes and are now inspiring others to turn their health around
Four years ago, the future for Geoff Whitington looked bleak.
After years of neglecting his health, and having been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, he weighed 20 stone, suffered high blood pressure, an abnormal heart rhythm and general poor health.
Complications from his condition had led to him contracting Charcot Foot which was destroying the joint and putting it at risk of amputation.
But it didn’t have to be that way.
According to the charity Diabetes UK, around three in five cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed through better lifestyle.
His sons Anthony and Ian, both professional film-makers, were not prepared to stand back and watch their dad’s health deteriorate further.
So, they stepped in and insisted on a complete lifestyle overhaul.
By recording their often difficult journey with their dad over the 12 months that followed, the brothers created an extraordinary documentary charting his remarkable fight-back to health.
Anthony said: "We knew Dad liked to eat and drink. He wasn’t into exercise, and food had become his only real hobby.
"Dad ate a lot of fatty, sugary foods which wasn’t helping him."
The brothers dug out their dad's old bike and started him on a low-calorie diet that had been found during a study by Professor Roy Taylor at Newcastle University to have some success in reversing type 2 diabetes.
Anthony added: "It turned out cycling was ideal for dad because it didn’t put too much weight on his feet. That was how it started, me running, Ian on the camera and dad on the bike.
"There were lots of arguments day in day out. We were never going to agree on everything. But we all wanted his health back."
Today, Geoff is seven stone lighter, is no longer diabetic and enjoys good health.
Geoff and Anthony both completed the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 in 2014 – an event which sees thousands of cyclists take on either a 46 or 100-mile challenge, helping to raise money for good causes.
The Whitington brothers are now mentoring other families in this year’s Prudential RideLondon Fixing Challenge, preparing them for the event on Sunday 30 July.
The footage filmed for this year's Challenge will feature on BBC Get Inspired and coverage of Prudential RideLondon 2017.
And, the Whitingtons hope to continue to inspire many others to follow in Geoff's footsteps by improving their health and fitness.
Hugh Brasher, Event Director of Prudential RideLondon, said. "Poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle are two of the root causes of the global obesity crisis.
"In the UK alone, diet-related type 2 diabetes causes hundreds of thousands of premature deaths and treating the condition places a huge burden on the NHS.
"The Fixing Challenge offers four families the chance to transform their lives with the help of the Whitington brothers and, on the way, will create more inspirational films to help other families. We are proud to support this."
Evidence shows there are three ways you can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes: eating better, being more active and shedding pounds if you’re overweight.
And, as Geoff has proved, just by making a small start by setting out on that first bicycle ride, he embarked on a journey that has led to a complete recovery and new lease of life.