Cancer survivor Matt tackles 370-mile bike ride in aid of charity
A MAN from Skelmersdale who was “close to death” five years ago after being diagnosed with leukaemia is preparing to tackle a gruelling 370-mile sponsored bike ride in aid of charity.
Matt Newman feared the worst when doctors told him he had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in early 2013.
He was put on a course of intensive chemotherapy for 12 months at Aintree hospital.
Then after another two years of chemotherapy things started to improve and for the last two years the now 45-year-old has been in remission.
Now Matt, a member of the Bannatyne health club in Northway, is set to cycle from the company’s Aberdeen club to Skelmersdale - a distance of 370 miles - in four days, to raise money for Bloodwise (formerly Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research) the charity which funds research into all blood cancers including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma, as well as to offering information and support to blood cancer patients.
Matt’s brother-in-law Alan Lomax, who will accompany him on the ride, came up with the fundraising idea over a bottle of wine - and Matt didn’t even have a bike at the time!
The pair will set out on their marathon mission on Monday, May 14.
Matt said: “In 2013 I was close to death and was diagnosed with leukaemia. I had three years of chemotherapy and thankfully I am now in remission.
“Following my treatment, I wanted to give something back which is why I am doing the fundraiser in aid of Bloodwise.
“Alan suggested the cycle ride fundraiser over a bottle of wine. At that time I didn’t have a bike but for the last eight months I have been in training.
“During the ride we will actually be climbing about 22,500 feet - the equivalent of three-quarters the height of Everest!”
Matt hopes to raise £10,000 and has already raised £4,500 already. His wife, Sara, has put together a Facebook page called NewMax cycling and a BT donation page has been set up as well.
Staff from Bannatyne’s in Aberndeen will ride with Matt and Alan for the first couple of miles and at the start of the fundraiser there will be a blood bank where people can donate blood.
A friend of the duo, John Spence, who owns the company Megaflatables and has appeared on TV’s Dragon’s Den, has donated a start-finish arch which will be donated to Bloodwise after the event.
John is also paying for accommodation for Matt and Alan and their support driver, Jamie McDonald.
Matt added: “We would very much like people to get on board and donate what they can for blood cancer research to help others who are faced with this horrible disease.”