THE father of a girl with a rare condition, together with more than 20 of his friends, are cycling all the way to Italy for charity.
Luca Venditto, who owns The Italian Way and Pissarro’s, and his cohort are pedalling from Portsmouth to Pompeii on September 10 to raise money for the Association for Glycogen Storage Disease (AGSD) UK.
His nine-year-old daughter Jodie suffers from the condition and Mr Venditto’s team are hoping to raise at least £100,000 for the charity.
Mr Venditto, of Clarendon Close, St Leonards, said: “There are only 85 people in the UK with this type of disease.
“After Jodie was suffering fits, it was only due to a brilliant consultant at the Conquest Hospital who recognised that there was something seriously wrong with her.
“He was able to link up with a doctor from King’s Hospital in London, and together they diagnosed her three weeks later as suffering from the disease.
“The disease means that Jodie’s liver does not give her the carbohydrates she needs back into her body and she can suffer extreme hypoglycaemia and slip into a coma.
“She also has problems with her heart.
“Whenever Jodie catches a common sickness bug she has to go on a drip unless we can keep her blood sugar levels up.
“We are trying to increase awareness of these conditions and so far more than 20 of us are taking part. The ride is more than 1,400 miles long and very demanding, taking in scenery like the Alps.”
Glycogen is a form of glucose, which the body needs for energy and the disease damages muscles and nerve cells.
Each participant is aiming to raise £3,000 and Mr Venditto said so far everyone taking part has raised at least 25 per cent of their sponsorship.
Mr Venditto said: “I am very active with the AGSD and whenever there is another child diagnosed with the condition I go to visit the family.”
To sponsor Mr Venditto and his team log onto www.pompeytopompeii.org.uk.