Rugby dad battles illness in his bid for Euro glory

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A RUGBY dad is fighting fit and ready to take on the best of Europe after receiving pioneering treatment for a rare and crippling disease.

Sporty Tim Randell, 54, is battling for a place in next year’s European Championships for veteran triathletes.

But his dreams of competing for Great Britain looked to have been dashed when he was diagnosed with Depuyten’s disease, otherwise known as ‘claw hand’. It affects tendons in the hands and feet, and causes fingers to close up towards the palm.

Depuyten’s is hereditary - and having seen his mother struggle with the disease, he knew that the trouble he was having with his hands could ruin his sporting hopes and cost him his job as an engineer. Tim said: “I knew that Dupuytren’s could only be treated once the fingers were bent right into the palm of the hand. Even then, despite surgery, my mum has now lost the use of her fingers.”

Tim noticed the warning signs at the end of last year - but acted swiftly and went to a clinic in north London that uses small doses of radiation to treat the disease. It is one of few clinics in the UK to offer the form of therapy, which is more commonly used against cancer.

Now the tension on Tim’s tendons has been released, he’s been able to build muscle and strength in his hand again. His training regime includes three swimming sessions, three runs and four bikes rides each week, as well as time spent in the gym - and he has just returned from the first of three European Championship qualifiers where he achieved his best-ever performance,

He said: “I’ve made sure both of my sons are aware of the symptoms of Dupuytren’s disease. It can creep up over a number of years, but with this radiation treatment, it can be caught early and be nipped in the bud.”