Published: 00:00, 08 February 2016
| Updated: 15:34, 08 February 2016
An emotional, honest and sometimes shocking film capturing an Ashford man’s fight against type two diabetes is now available to watch online.
The documentary follows brothers Ian and Anthony Whitington as they attempt to get their dad Geoff’s health back on track.
The film shows Geoff, 64, transformed from an obese, barely mobile night-time security guard to a fighting fit endurance cyclist, public speaker and health activist.
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Altering his diet and keeping up with regular exercise saw the grandfather, from Singleton, drop from 20 stone to 13 and a half, and improve his circulation.
Geoff, who is married to Marilyn and also has stepchildren Kerry and Melanie, said: “I’d never imagine I would do the things I’ve achieved in the last few years.
“No one could have been worse than me. I was a couch potato. I’d eat any rubbish I could find.
"I can’t say enough about what the boys have done. They were incredible.
“I feel like a totally different person. I hated salad and vegetables before. Now I actually like them. I don’t even crave carbs now.”
The family also appeared on the BBC’s The One Show in 2014 to raise awareness of type two diabetes and their film.
Anthony and Ian, both experienced film-makers, decided to make the documentary, titled Fixing Dad, in 2013 after Geoff, who has suffered with type two diabetes for over 10 years, among other health conditions, was told by his GP that amputation of his foot was a possibility.
The arch of one foot had already collapsed as a result of Charcot foot (a complication associated with diabetes) and the other foot was developing ulcers due to poor circulation.
"I can’t say enough about what the boys have done. They were incredible." - Geoff Whitington
Now, two years later, his health has improved dramatically. Geoff is on his bike every day and is planning to take part in the Prudential RideLondon for the second time.
Geoff’s journey also made other family members get healthier and become more conscious about their lifestyle. Geoff, who admits it’s quite nice walking around without a camera in his face these days, said he still wants to lose another stone.
He adds: “Hopefully it will inspire others. If I can do it, you can too. I never thought you’d get me on a bike. Now I love it.”
Speaking about the last few years, Anthony, 38, from Shadoxhurst, said: “We didn’t know how any of this would end. We hoped we could make dad feel better physically but also remind him of how loved he is and how important he is to the whole family.
“We had no idea that we could turn his pig-headed stubbornness into a steely resolve that has powered him through. We always hoped he would come out feeling healthy and fit but he’s surprised us all.
“The best thing for all of us though is that we’re closer than we’ve ever been and, for all the tears and tantrums along the way, it was well worth it for how we all feel now.”
To rent or buy Fixing Dad, go to vimeo.com/ondemand/fixingdad. 25% of all revenue after transaction fees will be donated to the Paula Carr Diabetes Trust in Ashford, which has supported the family throughout the project.
Jen Whitington, Geoff’s daughter-in-law and Anthony’s wife, is also writing a book to accompany the documentary, due out this year.