Alistair Banks is my brother-in-law. He is 40 years old, husband of Alice and father of Finn (7) and Freya (3). Until August 2010, he and my sister lived in Walthamstow, East London, and both of them were teachers in Newham. He taught at Little Ilford school.
In July 2010 he received the devastating news that he had Motor Neurone Disease, a terminal and untreatable illness. The weekend he received his diagnosis, the family moved to Beckington, a small village near Frome in Somerset. Earlier in the year Alistair had been appointed the Assistant Head of Matravers School in Westbury, and so this move had been planned for a while.
Alistair has faced his illness with such incredible courage and optimism that he was recently chosen by the Motor Neurone Disease Association to be the face of their new awareness campaign. There are currently posters all over the London Underground and National Rail stations telling Alistair's story. You can find out more at http://alistairtheoptimist.org/
Alistair's illness has made him determined to get the most out of every day he has left. He has also made it his goal to raise as much money for MNDA as he can - he recently organised a charity cycle ride (www.floattothecoast.co.uk) which has to date raised nearly £35,000.
Alistair's story has already given hope and courage to hundreds of people and families affected by terminal illness. Carrying the Olympic torch would spread his message of optimism even further.