A MAN with Parkinson’s disease and a childhood friend are taking on a daring 3,000-mile challenge to row from California to Hawaii to raise money for charity.

Alex Flynn, who was diagnosed with the disease at age 36, will take on the feat with Darren Taylor, 41, a fireman at Oxford’s Rewley Road station.

The trip, which could take up to 70 days, has never before been attempted by two British rowers.

They hope to raise £250,000 for The Cure Parkinson’s Trust and The Firefighters Charity.

The pair met at Wallingford School aged 11 and went on to study at Henley College together.

They reconnected years later on Facebook when Mr Taylor heard about the work Mr Flynn was doing for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust.

Mr Flynn, who now lives in Goring, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2008.

Since then, he has challenged himself to run, cycle, swim, and climb 10 million metres to raise awareness of the condition.

In 2011, he ran 1,435 miles from London to Rome in 30 days and in 2012 travelled 3,256 miles across the USA in four different ways.

Mr Flynn, 41, said: “When I was diagnosed, it was like getting struck in the face with a hammer.

But he added: “When someone is told bad news, you have to keep yourself going. Everyone should have a goal.”

Mr Taylor, a firefighter since 2006, sailed from Australia to England at age 17. He now cycles 140 miles a week, puts in two hours a day on a rowing machine and runs three times a week.

Mr Taylor, who lives in Charlbury with partner Louise Thomas and her two children Amy, 16, and Keiran, seven, said: “I heard about what Alex was doing and I was interested in rowing again.

“I found out more about Parkinson’s and what we could do to help.

“We want to promote that exercise can help people with Parkinson’s.

“I became a firefighter to help people. This is a way to do that.”

The pair will be taking part in the inaugural New Ocean Wave Pacific Rowing Race.

They will set off on June 7 from Monterey Bay in California and row 2,900 miles to Hawaii, taking alternate shifts at the oars.

Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/pacificrow2014.co.uk