Soap star Matt Chambers, who plays Dr Daniel Granger in the long-running BBC Birmingham series ‘Doctors’, will be swapping his suit and stethoscope for lycra and gears as he takes part in the Birmingham Bikeathon – the largest charity cycle ride hosted by the city - this Sunday (5 July). The actor will join over 1,000 cyclists as they pedal their way around the scenic Birmingham route to raise over £100,000 for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
With the full support of Birmingham Council, riders can choose to cycle one of the three routes on offer (26 miles, 52 miles or 100 miles), starting and finishing at Cannon Hill Park.
Matt Chambers, who will be cycling the 26 mile route, says: “I have ridden further in the past but that was many years ago! I feel confident that the general good natured mood on the day will carry me through. I'm not looking to break records, just to enjoy the occasion and be able to say I was there."
Joining Matt is Chris Miller, whose daughter Ellie was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in June 2014. Shortly after her diagnosis, Chris had a heart attack on the way to work.
He says: “I decided I had to do something about my lifestyle. I had always fancied cycling and looked for a manageable goal which would help both my health and support a cause associated with Ellie’s illness. When Ellie was diagnosed I felt so helpless. There is nothing worse than not being able to do much to prevent your child from being frightened.
“The Birmingham Bikeathon was the perfect choice to improve my fitness levels and fundraise for a cause so close to my heart. Family, friends and colleagues have been so generous in their donations and I’ve been fortunate to raise over £2,300 so far for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.”
Birmingham is central to the life-saving work carried out by Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. Currently, the charity has £14million invested in 29 different blood cancer research projects and clinical drugs trials in the city, including a trial to refine treatment and improve the quality of life for the most common form of childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
The University of Birmingham coordinates the charity’s innovative Trials Acceleration Programme, which works to improve access to new drug treatments for blood cancer patients via a network of 13 hospitals across the country.
Chris Bunce, a Professor at Birmingham University, Research Director at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, and Birmingham resident, says: “I’m delighted the Birmingham Bikeathon is returning for a second year and I am incredibly proud that the city will host such a landmark event in support of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. A lot of research takes place here - from understanding basic principles around how blood cancer works and affects patients, to our ground breaking clinical trials programme - so much of the money raised from this ride will be invested in projects within the city.”
Riders can still sign up on the day at the start point in Cannon Hill Park.