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Support Gills fan Stocky in his marathon charity bike ride

Gills fan – and Gills365 regular – Darren ‘Stocky’ Stock is taking part in a special charity bike ride, and he needs YOUR support…

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Gills fan Darren Stock (left) is looking for your help to raise money for a cause close to his heart

They say giving to charity will make your life happier, so I write this unapologetically in a bid to help make you – and, more importantly, those in need – happier people.

Regular readers of this site will recognise Gillingham fan – and GillsInTheBlood TV regular – Darren Stock. ‘Stocky’ has today kicked off a marathon bike ride around 10 of Kent’s football clubs in aid of a charity very close to his heart.

Last year, Darren’s four-year-old son was diagnosed with a genetic disorder called XXYY Syndrome, where sufferers have more chromosomes in their body than they’re supposed to have.

It’s a rare occurrence – only one in 23,000-50,000 children are affected – but Darren’s young son Joseph is one of those rare cases.

Darren explains: “Joseph’s a happy little boy in himself but he has communication difficulties for his age. This is one of the effects of XXYY.

“Other issues that accompany this condition are a lack of testosterone, behavioural issues and the probable likelihood that he will never be able to have children of his own. 

“As this is such a rare condition, one which a lot of UK medical professionals haven’t even heard of, Joseph’s future is uncertain. He may have to be pulled out of mainstream school, will potentially have to have testosterone injections to get him through puberty and may not be able to live an independent adult life.”

Darren has therefore taken to the road in a bid to raise both awareness of the condition and funds for the charity supporting those families affected.

“The purpose of raising money and awareness of this condition is so research can be carried out about the condition and to fund US medical professionals, who have more knowledge of the condition, to come over to the UK,” he explained.

“As well as XXYY, I will also be raising money for two other charities which are important to me – Cancer Research and British Heart Foundation.”

Darren and his friend Leigh have kicked off a bike ride to visit 10 football grounds in Kent over a three-day period, a journey covering some 200 miles.

Each day, the pair hope to visit a host of football grounds, where they hope to pick up a memento from each club (such as signed shirts or match tickets) to go into a charity auction to raise further funds for charity.

Darren and Leigh will visit Gillingham, Maidstone United, Ebbsfleet United, Dover Athletic, Dartford, Margate, Sheppey United, Faversham Town, Folkestone Invicta and Tonbridge Angels, and Darren says that conversations with the majority of the aforementioned clubs have been positive with the clubs lending their support. Hopefully, those that haven’t will follow suit for such a good cause.

Darren set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations, and set a target of £1,000, which has already been surpassed by the donations received so far.

Whether you can donate a pound, a tenner or even more, anything you can spare will go to a good cause and help support a fellow Gills fan trying to do something positive not just for his family, for others like his.

Please donate anything you can spare to Darren’s GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/kent-football-grounds-bike-ride