The ride is to raise awareness and funds for research into a cure for Parkinson’s.
Mr Mitchell contacted Hibiscus Matters’ sister paper, Mahurangi Matters, to offer his support, following an article on January 18, which appealed for a charity rider.
Scotsman Bernie Docherty, who was diagnosed with the disease two years ago, aged 50, launched the appeal. Bernie plans to complete a simultaneous, 100-mile fundraising ride in Britain, on June 25.
“When I read the story I knew I had to find a way of supporting the ride,” Mr Mitchell says.
“When I was in the Police force, I came off second best to a piece of four-by-two and that part of my brain that releases dopamine was damaged. For three years I had Parkinson’s symptoms and I can completely understand what Bernie’s going through.”
Bernie has exchanged emails with Mr Mitchell and also received other offers of help from Mahurangi residents.
“I was completely blown away, especially by Mark’s offer to ride and raise funds,” Bernie says. “It’s a great cause, but there are millions of worthy causes out there. I feel very humbled.”
Bernie visited New Zealand several years ago and says he loves Mahurangi. He initially wanted to place an advert for a rider to create a global fundraiser.
“I got Parkinson’s at a young age and I have very severe symptoms. I can be awake for three days straight. Later in the year I will undergo Deep Brain Stimulation surgery. This project has given me real focus especially as I am no longer able to work,” Bernie says.
Mr Mitchell says he is encouraging other MPs to take up the challenge. The cycle route is yet to be determined.
“Bernie is very good at using humour to help him deal with his challenges, which is why I am looking to include as many downhill stretches of road as possible.”
Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Bernie-Docherty