My 34 years involvement with Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research has been long and varied but I will endeavour to describe the most relevant points.
In July 1979 my son Stefan (pictured below) died from leukaemia, aged just five.
Shortly after this tragedy I got involved with Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, then known as The Leukaemia Research Fund, as a volunteer fundraiser. In the early years my activities were mainly helping out with street collections and other events such as ‘Flag Days’ and the annual Christmas Carol concert held at Birmingham Town Hall. This progressed to organising raffles and discos and eventually to gaining sponsorship from road running – I have entered and completed about a dozen half marathons and five full marathons in aid of the cause.
I got a little more ambitious by planning, leading and completing three long distance cycling ‘marathons,’ specifically, a non stop ride from Birmingham to Ramsgate, completed on the day my son would have celebrated his 21st birthday; a seven day ride from the north coast of Spain to the south coast of Portugal – and a very demanding ride from Birmingham to Blackpool and back within 24 hours. These three events attracted interest from the local media and raised several thousand pounds.
When I was 50 in 1999 I organised and completed my own ‘half century triathlon’ comprising a 50 lengths swim followed by a 50 mile cycle ride topped off with 50 slalom circuits in a kayak. This was another event supported by the local media and raised, as far as I remember, just over £2,000.
Because of how my life has been affected by leukaemia – and because of the continued success of the research funded by people’s generosity – I can honestly say that all my efforts for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research have been completely worthwhile. I fully intend to continue this commitment and it is my fervent hope to see an end to this awful disease within my lifetime.
I took early retirement in December 2013 and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my 65th year than to get back on the road again for this amazing life saving organisation – so I have signed up for the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Birmingham Bikeathon – a 100 mile cycle marathon taking place on 21st September 2014.
Needless to say, I’m looking for sponsorship – but I’m also hoping to encourage others to get on their bikes and sign up for this great event. You’ll have the choice of a 26, 52 or 100 mile route and I can promise you – it will be one of the most amazing things you will do in your life.
When my little boy was diagnosed in 1978 leukaemia was as good as a death sentence. However, nowadays, thanks to all those (continuing) years of research – completely funded by people’s generosity - most children diagnosed can expect a cure.
To put it simply, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research is getting results. Every £1 you donate or every ounce of pedal power you expend will be extremely well spent.
Make a donation to my Birmingham Bikeathon fundraising page