A GROUP of charity cyclists put in a wheely great performance to raise nearly £50,000 for a leading cancer charity after saddling up for a marathon trek from London to Paris.
The 15-strong group of novice bikers from Doncaster were inspired by loved ones to raise more than £47,000 for Sheffield’s Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity.
The team, known as the Doncaster Cycle Trust, had all experienced a family member or friend being touched by cancer - so decided to do something positive by raising money.
One of the riders, Mike Honey, whose wife Denise was treated at Weston Park before she died of cancer in February 2012, said: “The support we have received has been absolutely unbelievable and we were amazed when we found out how much we had raised.
“Denise would have been really pleased with what we have done for Weston Park.”
Denise, who was aged just 52 when she died, was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago and started an 18 month course of chemotherapy.
She was then diagnosed with secondary breast cancer and began a clinical trial but, after undergoing further tests, she was told the devastating news that the cancer had spread to the base of her brain and spine.
On 7 January last year, Denise made the decision to stop the treatment and she died in 52-year-old Mike’s arms at home on 13 February.
Mike, who has three sons – Jonathan, 23, Simon, 21, who also took part in the challenge, and David, 18, added: “It is extremely poignant that the money we raised is going towards the new research facility as Denise was on a clinical trial for a time, which we were introduced to by Professor Rob Coleman.
The riders cycled the 300 mile route for the charity’s £1.3 million Do Your Bit Campaign, which is raising money to create a new cancer research and treatment suite at the hospital.
Their initial donation of £22,000 has been doubled to £44,000 by not-for-profit health insurer Westfield Health. Even more donations came in later, which meant the grand total raised stands at more than £47,000.
Mike added: “I would also like to visit the hospital again once the work has been completed on the new centre to see what the money has helped towards, and I hope the new facilities help thousands of patients across our region and beyond overcome cancer in the future.”
The trip was organised by Ruth White, 49, from Cantley. She said: “I feel that this trip really goes to show anyone who sets their mind to something can achieve what they set out to achieve. It was great fun organising it and definitely more than worth it after finding out how much we raised!
“Every family I know knows someone who has been affected by cancer. It is something that can hit anyone of any age, including young people, which was my main inspiration for wanting to organise the trip.”
The Do Your Bit campaign is being supported by Westfield Health and Westfield’s Charitable Trust has pledged £350,000 to the campaign.
The company has already donated more than £100,000 and is matching all appeal donations pound-for-pound up to a further £250,000.
Sarah Cross, fundraiser at Weston Park, said: “Mike, Ruth and the rest of the group have raised an incredible amount of money for our Do Your Bit campaign and we are delighted to have their support.
“Our campaign is about people coming together to do their bit for the cause, and this is exactly what the Doncaster Cycle Trust has done. We are encouraging as many people as possible to ‘do their bit’ and pledge to support the charity in whatever way they can.
Supporters can visit Do your bit to find ideas on how to support the campaign.