Brian and Izzy
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Our Journey

Brian and Izzy
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30 Jun 2014

Our journey 1999 to date

We first became involved with Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research in early 1999.  Our son [and Isabel’s brother] had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in Oct 1998, a month before his 9th birthday.  Unfortunately Jamie had a very resistant variant and we never managed to get him to a stable remission.

Needless to say we contacted everyone we could think of that might give us hope for a different treatment, including the Leukaemia Research Fund (as it was then called).

By May 1999, however, it was clear that we had run out of options.  Tom Coleman, one of Jamie’s school friends, found out about the 1999 London Bikeathon which had a children’s ride in Battersea Park and  Tom along with some of the teachers and other pupils at Jamie's school entered. 

Despite having been in hospital late the night before for a blood transfusion, Jamie had insisted on going to cheer on his friends and teachers and their families who were taking part in the Bikeathon.  Although he was very weak he surprised everyone by getting out of his wheelchair, commandeering his friend Tom’s bike and completing 2 laps of the Battersea Park circuit.  From Battersea Park he went on to Trinity Hospice to hear Battersea Young Strings (BYS) perform, where he greatly enjoyed being pushed around the beautiful grounds in his wheelchair by a number of friends from the orchestra.  We have some great pictures from that day including Jamie with Gary Lineker.  A great day, which epitomised Jamie's fighting spirit and determination to make the most of every second - made all the more powerful in retrospect given that Jamie died just two weeks later.

In attempting to move forwards in some way and come to terms with losing Jamie we knew one thing: We wanted to do as much as we could to try an ensure that other children, siblings, parents, friends, family didn’t have to go through what we went through in future.   We looked at many charities focusing on Leukaemia and children but it was LRF and their focus on research to find a cure that fired our imagination and the one we wanted to raise money for.

The starting point for our fundraising was organizing 2 concerts in 2000 at the Royal Opera House incorporating BYS (the youth orchestra that Jamie and Isabel played with) [the very amateur web site is still live @]. The final amount raised was around £80,000!  We even managed to get London Weekend TV to do a piece promoting the concert and LRF.

Since then the fundraising has just grown (apologies to those who have been on this journey with us since the beginning - we know you must be bored of our requests for sponsorship by now!).  You can see a video of Isabel and friends appearing on Blue Peter to launch the Blue Peter Bikeathons plus more on our YouTube channel.


Our friend Andrew Roberts ran an annual “Stock Exchange Game” in Birmingham and he subsequently got his firm Grant Thornton on board as a corporate supporter. 

In 2007 my then employer, Oracle Corporation, wanted to something different at the annual sales conference in Disney Paris.   They decided that they would try and break the Guinness World Record for the longest painting by numbers.  Knowing of my interest and support of LRF they decided to make it an even greater team building event by not simply breaking the record but setting out to raise more than £50,000 for LRF in the process.  I am pleased to say both were achieved [].  By getting donations plus selling the 120 “panels” more than £65,000 was raised.

It's difficult to get to a concrete total for our fundraising to date but my best estimate is that in total we have raised – directly and indirectly – somewhere in excess of £200,000.

But it hasn’t been just fundraising.  My wife Jane became a volunteer for the charity at head office and used her computer consultancy skills and her accountancy training to help select and implement new computer systems for LRF.  She subsequently became Finance Director from 2003 to 2005. Isabel too volunteered at head office during school holidays in the fundraising department.

As a family we have all volunteered at various events including the Blue Peter Bikeathons in London [Isabel was one of the children to appear on BP promoting the 1st event] and the annual Carols with the Stars.

So here we are again:  This will be our 15th London Bikeathon [16th if you count 1999].  

Matching the amount of sponsorship we achieved in the early years remains a challenge but on-line sponsorship, social media etc at least makes it more possible to reach distant friends, colleagues etc.  Isabel showed it can still be done as last year £6,500 was raised for her London-Barcelona ride.

So on to 2014!! For the last 10 years I have ridden the 26 mile route.  But very rashly I have agreed to do the 52 with Isabel – and now her cousins Vikki and Matt.  I will be virtually 62 by the time of the ride and age is definitely taking its toll!  Obviously the need to get fit is all too apparent

If you can please sponsor us!!  You can follow us on Twitter @Brian_Izzy_Bike and @brian_gregory



This is awesome - and what an amazing journey you have been through with the charity. Keep up the amazing work and i look forward to hearing more about your fundraising adventures. Lauren



What an absolutely incredible journey you've been on! As a leukaemia survivor myself, I cannot begin to express enough just how much of a difference people like you have made to me. Thanks to fundraisers like you I have been given a second chance at life which I hope I've taken with both hands and I am both inspired and humbled by your fundraising efforts.

Jamie sounds like he was an absolutely incredible young man and you should feel proud of what you've done in his memory. I'm taking part in the Bikeathon for the first time this year and it will be an honour to ride alongside you.


Of course - so long as you go slowly!

Happy to do and media that will help. Found a copy of the ITV news piece we did in 2005 with David Grant and somewhere have the recording of the one we did in 2000.


Don't worry Brian, I'll be going slowly!

Would love to see the ITV news piece you guys did - amazing you've still got copies of these things. Speaking of copies, we were wondering if you had a picture of you and Izzy that you could send us as we'd like to include you in this month's addition of BEAT our e-newsletter. If you have one that you're happy for us to use, could you email it to me at




Need to call out 3 very important people, without who the Royal Opera House concerts would not have happened or raised as much as they did.  It was organising and promoting the concert that brought us into close contact with the charity and changed our lives.

Full story of how much we owe to Andy & Julie Staples and Andrew Downes can be found on my new blog Our Journey – The Royal Opera House Supplement


Hi Brian,

Just read the blog about the Royal Opera House concerts and left a longer message there but would like to say again how thankful I am as a patient who has undoubtedly benefited from the concerts in some capacity. Andy, Julie and Andrew thank you so much - you've helped make an enormous difference to the lives of blood cancer patients.