The Glasgow Bikeathon will be returning to Glasgow on Sunday 23 May this year after a successful event in 2009. The event is organised by and will raise money in support of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
Over 400 people dusted off their bikes to take part in the first ever Glasgow Bikeathon in 2009, and this year, event organisers are hoping to increase participant numbers to help raise even more money for the charity.
One couple who are eager to take part in this year’s event are Kerry and Paul Foley, from Inverkip. They are dedicated to helping Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research in any way they can after their daughter was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia at just seven months old.
Now aged three, Rebecca is in remission and doing really well but when she was diagnosed, her and her parents faced a living nightmare. Rebecca’s mum, Kerry commented: “When Rebecca was diagnosed with leukaemia at just seven months old, our whole world fell apart. You read about such awful things but never expect that it will actually happen to you and your family.
“Initially, Rebecca just had a high temperature and the doctors put it down to a virus. There were no other symptoms that would have caused us to think it was anything serious, but being a nurse myself, I just knew something wasn’t right.
When Rebecca was finally diagnosed, it just hit us so hard – we really weren’t expecting it. She had to endure five lots of chemotherapy, numerous blood transfusions and we spent six months in hospital. Rebecca was kept in isolation and the only people allowed to come into contact with her were me, her Dad, and her Grandma’s - anyone else had to talk to Rebecca through a glass screen. She was always so brave but it was so sad to see such a lively little girl going through all that at such a young age”.
The Bikeathon offers two predominantly rural routes to riders – either 13 or 26 miles. Both rides start and finish at the historic country park in Drumpellier, on the Glasgow/North Lanarkshire border. The park was formerly a private estate occupying an area of 500 acres, with two natural lochs.
Kerry and Paul Foley will be taking part in the 13 mile ride this year. Kerry added: “Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research is so close to our hearts. If it hadn’t been for the research funded by the charity, I don’t know if we’d have been able to bring Rebecca home. She’s no different to any other toddler - bright, active and full of life, but things could have turned out so much differently.
Being a nurse, I was always aware of leukaemia but I never really knew a lot about it. I hadn’t realised that so many young people suffered from it until I got into that hospital with Rebecca and saw all the children enduring such pain. Paul and I want to take part in the Glasgow Bikeathon this year to help raise awareness of the illness and to contribute to the charity’s research that will hopefully one day find a cure”.
Yvonne Dickson, Fundraising Manager for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research in Scotland has high hopes for this year’s Glasgow Bikeathon. She said: “Last year, we raised just under £30,000 to help fund vital research in Scotland but this year, we want to increase entries in the hope that we can raise even more money.
Whether you’re looking for a physical challenge, a fundraising challenge, or quite simply a fun day out, why not join us this year and do your bit for those affected by blood cancers”.
Formerly known as Leukaemia Research, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research has recently changed its name to better reflect the work it does. New statistics from the charity show that blood cancers have increased by over 16 percent in the past 20 years and currently, 28,500 people in the UK are diagnosed with blood cancers every year.
Yvonne added: “We changed our name because many people didn’t realise our role in supporting research into all blood cancers. We wanted to raise awareness of our longstanding commitment to research into lymphoma and myeloma – as well as leukaemia”.