The complications changed my hope to ride the Col du Tourmalet in 2013 so the ride is on 23rd June this year.
Initially the ride was going to be my recovery celebration. It soon changed; Life Cycling was born and has become a way of trying to bring some hope to others who are affected by blood cancers either directly or indirectly.
Life Cycling aims to raise $300,000 to be equally shared between Arrow Foundation and the Leukaemia Foundation for use in research and patient support services. (So far we have about $90,000.) It also is intended as a message of hope to others that you can be fortunate enough to get through the huge unpleasantness and the difficult dark days and return to the people you love and who matter to you and to do the things you enjoy in life.
Part of our objective is raising awareness; we have started our PR work and are slowly getting some good interest and coverage especially among the cycling community.
There will be five of us doing the ride: my son, Oliver; my cycling close friend, Scott; Dave, a close cycling friend who lives in London; and my wife Elizabeth who has endured the emotional Tourmalet of the last 2 years.
Once I’d had my first experience of riding up a big mountain, I was hooked. Later I had taken each of the other riders on their first mountain rides. First I rode the Col Du Tourmalet with Dave, who had never ridden up anything before. Later it was Oliver’s turn to hit the slopes. A couple of years later, the four of us rode up the Alps and that was my friend Scott’s first experience doing it. He’s a very strong rider, but he’d never done THAT before and now he’s addicted. Introducing Elizabeth to the joy of the hills will be terrific.
And I’ve been lucky, very lucky. Despite all of the bad luck of getting leukaemia, getting lymphoma, the lucky part is that I’m around, I’ve been so fortunate with all of the love, support, skills and empathy given by my family, the medical staff, friends, acquaintances and my donor. And I feel so good and enthusiastic about everything I’m doing. I’m enjoying it all.
There are consequences. The change in my view of life’s uncertainty is probably the biggest. I’ve also had no sense of taste for a year which really ruins a good glass of red.
It can be difficult for people to understand the impact. I remember Dr John Moore telling me on day one that these are life limiting conditions. That doesn’t go away. The future looks very different after leukaemia than before. These are the things that I, and other sufferers, must live with. And everyone goes through it in their own way.
To be on top of the world, surrounded by the majestic snow-capped mountain ranges of the Pyrenees. It’s really quite beautiful and the feeling of elation up there is huge. To achieve it after everything that has happened and to do so with my closest family and friends will be wonderful beyond words.