A FORMER Olympic-level cyclist from Maghull who has recovered from a life-threatening brain injury was one of a peloton of cyclists who pedalled a combined total of 4,200 miles over four days to raise £35,000 for Liverpool-based charity North West Cancer Research.
James Thompson and 13 other cyclists took part in the inaugural Cycle of Hope fundraiser for the charity which funds life-saving reseach in the city and across the north west, as part of its 70th anniversary celebrations.
The 20-year-old from Maghull was inspired to sign up after a close friend was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
Cycle of Hope was the first challenge of this scale for James, since he suffered the brain injury while training in with British Cycling in 2014.
The horrific accident left him in a two-week coma. When James eventually recovered consciousness, he was temporarily paralysed down one side and had to learn to walk and talk again.
James said: “After my friend was diagnosed with cancer, it completely changed my perspective on fundraising. I’ve always tried to do my bit for good causes, but its only until you see someone go through cancer treatment, you realise how important this life-saving research is.
“After hearing about Cycle of Hope, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to raise some vital funds for North West Cancer Research, as well as encourage me to get back on the bike again.
“Since my accident I hadn’t taken part in any long-distance cycling events, so this was a test for me to see how far I’d come. Although it was tough going at times, the support and encouragement from the other cyclists taking part really helped remind me of what a great cause it was all for and it spurred me on to the finish.”
All money will be donated to North West Cancer Research and will support life-saving cancer research at University of Liverpool and across the north west. Since 2018, the charity has funded £39,000,000 worth of cancer research in Liverpool as part of its pledge to tackle rising cancer rates in the region.
The inaugural Cycle of Hope event kicked off on July 11 and took four days to complete. The course took cyclists on a tour of the locations where North West Cancer Research has supported innovative research, including Liverpool and Bangor, before crossing the finish line in Ireland’s historic capital city, Dublin on July 14 .
Marking the charity’s 70th birthday, the event was sponsored by Rutherford Cancer Centres who operate a national network of cancer centres, and international manufacturing firm PSL who provide innovative process solutions to the pharmaceutical industry.
Alastair Richards, chief executive at North West Cancer Research, said: “Each and every one of the cyclists were phenomenal in their dedication to training and fundraising and their determination to finish the course was fantastic to see. On behalf of everyone at North West Cancer Research I would like to thank them for their efforts. They all had their own personal reasons for partaking and I think they all did their selves proud.”
The four-day charity event, Cycle of Hope, will return in 2019 on July 4 – 8. Challengers can now sign up for the event, with a number of places already filled. To find out more about next year’s event call Cara on 0151 709 2919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.nwcr.org/events/cycle-of-hope.