Leukaemia survivor Dan Exelby is cycling nearly 600 miles through 25 counties at the end of June to commemorate a quarter of a century of being clear of the disease. In the first of a series of guest blogs, Dan shares why this cycle ride is so important to him and those who have been affected by blood cancer.
"In 1986, when I was 14 years old, I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). I was treated at Hammersmith Hospital, and at the time I was given a 50/50 chance of survival. Thankfully I was one of the lucky ones and was given the all clear in August 1988.
I wanted to do something to commemorate this and raise money for LLR, and as I’m a keen cyclist, my wife suggested I ride through 25 countries in Europe. This would have taken a bit too long, so my sister in law suggested 25 counties. This was a lot more doable, and following extensive bouts of map reading I have come up with a route that averages 80 miles a day, starting & ending at my parents’ house in Gloucestershire.
One thing that my family and I always struggled with during my illness was finding examples of teenagers who had beaten leukaemia – through local press and radio we are hoping to raise awareness that it can be beaten.
Five friends are joining me for the whole ride, with others doing days here and there – it will be hard work but hopefully enjoyable as well as raising money and awareness for a charity that has done so much for me and people like me."
To support Dan in his 25 Years 25 Counties cycling challenge and sponsor him, click here.