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Personal Everest conquered, blood cancer survivor Geoff Thomas prepares to climb the real thing

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04 Sep 2011

Ex-England footballer and leukaemia survivor Geoff Thomas is preparing to cycle to Mt Everest’s Base Camp in his greatest challenge since beating blood cancer.

Diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) in 2003 shortly after hanging up his boots, Geoff beat the disease and rode the entire Tour de France route to raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research months after completing treatment - a feat which won him the 2005 BBC Sports Personality Helen Rollinson Award.

On Thursday 15 September the former Crystal Palace captain is saddling up again in Shigatse, Tibet to lead a team of riders 520 kilometres across the backbone of the Himalayas in support of the charity’s life-saving research into leukaemia and all other blood cancers.

The punishing nine-day journey to the ‘roof of the world’ will see Geoff and his fellow 19 cyclists, all colleagues from Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research’s charity partner the DIY retailer  Wickes, face unforgiving terrain and freezing conditions at altitudes of up to 5,000 metres. 

Geoff said: “Everest is going to be a massive challenge - something on this scale is going to take every bit of effort just to get round. I’ve seen first-hand the difference that scientists are making to blood cancer patients. They need our support to continue their life-saving work, so I appreciate what everyone on this team is putting themselves through to raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research."

Blood cancer is the biggest cause of cancer related death in people aged 18-35, and since being diagnosed, Geoff’s goal has been to help more patients access the latest treatments faster. Earlier this year Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research launched a unique network of independent clinical trial centres with access to £50 million of new life-saving drugs which aims to bring ‘Trials Acceleration Programme’ to blood cancer patients for whom there is no other hope.  

All of the money raised from the ‘Everest By Bicycle’ challenge will be donated towards the charity’s vital research into better treatments and cures for all blood cancers, including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

Kate White, Director of Fundraising at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, said: Good luck to Geoff and everyone from Wickes taking on Everest for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. This ride is Geoff’s greatest challenge since he took on the Tour de France to support our vital research. Please get behind the team if you can. Every penny raised will mean more lives saved from blood cancers including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.”

Wickes announced Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research as its first-ever national charity partner in October 2006, aiming to raise £200,000 for the blood cancer charity during a year-long partnership. Its success has led to the extension of the partnership until the end of 2012 and a fantastic £1.8 million raised so far towards beating blood cancers.

Help Wickes take their fundraising to new heights!

Sponsor the team by visiting their fundraising page.

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