It’s 3 days since we completed N2S4CRUK and we’re now out of the bubble that we lived in for almost a week, where we had no knowledge of what was happening in the world as our complete focus was our cycling challenge. We’re back to our normal lives. Rubes and Roberto are shiny and dry and back in their home stable with their usual neighbours of golf clubs and plastic crates containing items which are not worthy of being stored in the house. We’ve almost caught up on all those domestic duties such as washing (ironing remains to be done), shopping and gardening. Gerry the Garmin is showing signs of life, but it’s still to be determined whether he will be well enough to accompany us on any future cycling adventures.
We returned to Southampton this afternoon but it wasn’t such a satisfying and welcoming visit as we had on Friday. This was where the nearest Apple store which had availability at their Genius Bar to repair the sad case of the severely challenged I-phone, post the level crossing fiasco. The store is in the West Quay centre, a disorenting retail environment. We were dealt with by a helpful black clad man called Mark who after an hour returned a fully functioning I-phone.
During the last 3 days we’ve had time to reflect on N2S4CRUK. We knew it would be tough, but it was very tough. We’d spent months of sorting out logistics and forcing ourselves out on training rides to make the physical element more bearable. What made it tougher than we expected? Cumulative long distances cycled each day (420 miles in total over the 4.5 days), lack of sleep (generally between 5 and 6 hours) and then there was the weather. Following 6 hours of cycling in very heavy rain on Wednesday through Derbyshire, we’ve now coined a new phrase as an alternative to ‘raining cats and dogs’ – it’s ‘Derby rain’. The combination of physical, mental and emotional pressures over 4.5 days took their toll.
But there were upsides. We met so many warm, caring and inspirational people and we were humbled by the overwhelming support in person, on social media and via messages from CRUK staff, researchers, nurses, other CRUK volunteers, sponsors, friends and family. Knowing so many people were rooting for us helped drive us on. Thanks to all those who cycled with us, those who came to cheer us on, Jackie for giving up a week of her time to provide support and Cathy, our local CRUK fundraising manager who has provided support from concept of N2S4CRUK through to us finishing in Southampton.
Absolute highlights were our visits to the CRUK office in Oxford, CRUK shop in Southampton and the Newcastle, Oxford and Southampton research centres. Special thanks to all those who gave us such warm welcomes and positive send offs. We get so much inspiration from learning first hand about the research.
One memory we have is a comment from one of the research nurses in Newcastle who said “Thank you for reminding us how important our role is“. Never forget that you provide hope for not just individual patients who are taking part in clinical trials , but also hope for a wider group of patients in the future. You are part of the future.
As one of our friends, Graham, who is one of our CRUK Cancer Campaigns Ambassador colleagues said in response to a new study for prostate cancer ” This is brilliant news and gave me a real boost! After completing all the initial tests I was excluded from the trial because ironically, my original biopsy did not include enough cancer. Praise all those who took part in the trial for raising hope in fellow sufferers. I may yet have another roll of the dice“
Pam and Philip are the reason we started on our individual fundraising and volunteering journeys with CRUK. This is not just a memorial to the past but it’s to have a positive impact in the future, by supporting CRUK world class, life saving research. We want a world where cancer is cured or is a managed chronic disease, such as diabetes is now. In the 1970’s 1 in 4 people survived cancer, now it’s 2 in 4 and with continued investment CRUK’s bold ambition is to increase this to 3 in 4 by 2034. Research taking place now will revolutionise diagnosis and treatment in the future.
We’ve currently raised £3785 (+ £811 gift aid) and are optimistic that we’ll reach our £5k fundraising target. Importantly over the last 10 years separately and more recently together, we have now raised just over £100k due to the generosity of everyone who’s supported us over the years.
This isn’t just about celebrating what we do but about everyone’s contribution. People ask us why we do these challenges. The answer is, we can! Not everyone can cycle more than 400 miles, but everyone has something that they can contribute to improving cancer survival rates and quality of life for those living with cancer. Whether that be scientists, clinicians or nurses involved in research, as a member of CRUK staff, volunteering, donating or fundraising.
Although there has been tremendous progress due to research in recent years there is still much to be achieved and so we will continue with our fundraising. Some of you have asked what the plan is for next year. We plan to take a break in 2020 from long distance cycling challenges and we’re looking at other ideas. Many of you have seen how determined we are and how passionate and committed we are to improve cancer outcomes. Watch this space, we’ll be back!