Diabetic stuntman from Kenley set for Arctic trek
INJECTING your bare flesh at temperatures of minus 40 degrees might seem an extreme way to raise awareness of your condition.
Then again, Olly Rowland is a movie stuntman.
The 23-year-old from Kenley will brave gruelling sub-zero temperatures for two weeks to cover nearly 1,000 miles (1,600km) of the Arctic Circle in aid of diabetes and cancer sufferers.
And Olly, who appeared in Captain America and War Horse, said his own condition is the inspiration behind the challenge.
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He said: "Half the reason I am doing this is because of my diabetes. I think there is a stigma among a lot of young people who feel they can't really do much and will have to be left out of things if they have it.
"This is about counteracting that and saying 'it doesn't have to be that way'.
"I want to get that out there, that people with the condition don't have to miss out and not do things just because they are diabetic."
Olly's diabetes will mean injecting himself with insulin four times a day in sub-zero temperatures during the trip – a stunt which could prove the most difficult of all.
He said: "I think that is probably one of the scariest parts. Exposing your flesh in those temperatures for three minutes can end in frost nip and in 10 or 15 minutes the first signs of frostbite can emerge.
"With the windchill factor thrown in we are expecting temperatures effectively as low as minus 75, so I'm getting prepared.
"Having said that, the most ridiculous thing in the back of my mind is the potential risk of polar bears, because we've been told they can wake up during hibernation and attack people."
Olly and friend Rob Mills will form one team of 15 who will travel up the River Ob from Irbit in Siberia to Salekhard in the Arctic Circle.
The pair, who are aiming to raise £1,000 each for Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK, will ride on special spiked-wheeled Russian Ural motorbikes in the endurance challenge Ice Run, which begins on February 6.
Olly is a black belt in karate, an expert rock climber and snowboarder and made his stunt debut in last year's Captain America: The First Avenger, performing what is known as a "jerk back" in a scene where Captain America himself smashes Olly in the face with a shield.
The young stuntman has travelled the nation to film on sets but says the Arctic voyage will be his most challenging trip yet.
He said: "It's going to be a massive challenge, but one that I'm sure we will finish and that we're really looking forward to.
"I've been working mainly on my cardio and getting fitter, because it will be quite a strain, and I've been trying to put on more weight to keep me warm.
"We've heard some of the teams have been locking themselves in freezers but we're not doing anything as extreme as that.
"It's a brilliant cause and we're hoping people will help us to raise our fundraising target."
To donate visit the team's website at www.teamnumbnuts.co.uk