Japan cycle in sister’s memory

A brother has embarked on the challenge of a lifetime to cycle almost 2,000 miles across Japan to help a worthy cause in memory of his sister.

Saturday, 28th September 2019, 4:00 pm
Johnny Heyes with his friends Steve Shaw and Sam Davis, who also took part in his journey. Picture by Johnny Heyes.

Johnny Heyes, of Lodge Moor said it has always been his dream to ride through the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ even before his sister Jenny Walker died of bowel cancer in November last year.

The 26-year-old, from Sheffield, said: “Japan is a beautiful country. We always wanted to visit it and it’s been on the list for a long time.

“We always kind of planned it before Jenny was diagnosed. We would have come, not for charity. But now, I am pushing it to a lot longer miles for charity’.

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Michael Walker with his late wife, Jenny and children Nia, 8, Cora, 5 and Beth, 2. Picture by Michael Walker.

After the birth of her youngest child in 2016, Jenny, 34, had very low iron levels that were thought to be caused by pregnancy, but they remained low despite medication.

It was not until the mother-of-three discovered a lump in her right abdomen that the cancer was diagnosed, and it had spread to her liver and her lungs.

Jenny underwent several rounds of chemotherapy in late 2018 but the cancer spread further and she died in November the same year.

Johnny said cycling has helped him deal with the pain while raising money for Bowel Cancer UK.

Jenny Walker died at the age of 34 after losing a battle with cancer in November last year. Picture by Johnny Heyes.

“I want to push myself to the limit of what my body can do and also to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK to help cases like Jen’s be caught a lot earlier,” he said.

Johnny, who is currently cycling across Japan from north to south, has so far covered 1000 miles and still has about 700 to 800 miles to go.

Friends Steve Shaw and Sam Davis, will also ride with him from Tokyo to Fukuoka, but he will complete the rest of the journey himself.

Jenny’s husband Michael Walker said she would be very proud of her brother for what he was doing.

“John is an amazing and very determined person and Jenny would be so proud of what he’s doing, as we all are.

“The distance and height he’s covering every day for weeks is mind blowing, and can’t really be appreciated unless you’ve ever done 100 miles on a bike then tried to the same again the next day, then the next day,” he said.

This is not the first time Johnny has got on his bike for a great cause.

In 2013, Jenny’s son, Elliot, died at 10 days old after being born with a genetic disorder so he cycled from South Shields to Great Ormond Street, where Elliot was treated, in memory of him, raising £3800.

Those who would like to donate and support Johnny can visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/johnnyheyesjapan.