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  • Writer's pictureJill

A Cycling World First...

Richard Moore from the Cycling Podcast mentioned our Erase Meso cycle challenge to Sir Chris Hoy back in August and this is what he kindly sent us.

What a gent!(no pressure, Paul?!)

You may have read my first entry to this blog...Nov 4th 2017..a fairly harrowing account of when Paul was first diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. If you've read it you'll know that one of Paul's comments to surgeon Carole Tan was "Does that mean I can't cycle Lands End to John o Groats in 2019?"

I remember Ms Tan squirming and finally saying "Well, I think it's good to have something to aim for..."

On September 18th 2019 my husband Paul Cook, his mesowarrior mate Nigel Shaddick, and a team of 15 incredible friends aimed for exactly that dream and smashed it.

Here's a quote from the press release

"They cycled the length of Britain in 10 days.

A climb of 15,000m… almost twice the height of Everest.

2 team members Nigel Shaddick (51) and Paul Cook (45) have terminal mesothelioma (asbestos cancer)

Paul has only one and a half lungs.

On September 9th 2019, fifteen amateur cyclists rode from Lands End to John o'Groats, the entire length of Britain.

They covered 960 miles in 10 days.

The aim of the Erase Meso Lands End to John o’Groats Cycle Challenge was to raise much needed funds for mesothelioma (asbestos cancer research)

They also wanted to raise awareness of meso and give meso-patients hope"

So far they have raised lots.

Over £40K..

Final total to be announced at our ball..

An astonishing achievement.

They defied the odds...

Thanks to my best mate Sarah Fisher for having us last weekend and tearing (with my terrible navigation skills!)around the countryside looking for crazy cyclists in Erase Meso kit!

The team were in all sorts of pain but still smiling. Most of them looked pretty shattered.

Blood, sweat and tears. Punctures, crashes and fears.

Laughter..and beers!

Such an incredible team.

I'd like to thank the families who lent their dads/husbands to this cause and the following amazing individuals who cycled Britain end to end for us..

September 18th 2019 - John o Groats!

Erase Meso LEJOG Team members Richard Bath (Trustee!) Ed Block Mike Cassin Paul Cook Jonathan Falconer James Fisher Nina Gold Scott Horsfield Nigel Shaddick Adam Stone Andy Strong Christopher Taylor Matt Turner Martin Wadsworth Tamsin Whipp

What I found particularly extraordinary was the camaraderie. These riders didn't even know one another a year ago. Now they are firm friends.

We went with a fantastic support firm called Le Domestique..a fun-loving team of 3 - Rob, Kyle & Paul.

They were telling me that normally by day 5 cracks would start to show within a team due to muscle pain and fatigue but they said that the opposite started to happen..

Our team did speeches after dinner most nights and seemed to bond more. Noone was ever left to cycle alone - unless they wanted to!

When Cam and I visited Sarah, Mairi and Isobel, we were all pretty amazed to observe the following..

-the speed at which they were cycling

-the banter and laughs they were having

-despite the AWFUL saddle sores and extreme exhaustion, they were all still saying "Good!" when asked how they were.

-Members of the public would just walk up to the cyclists and hand over cash donations

-they seemed to be enjoying the sights and even a few beers at night (HOW many dehydration tablets??)

I was so proud of Nina and Tam. They were definitely outnumbered by guys but boy can these ladies cycle!!!? Soo much energy and BIG HEARTS all round!

To all the team and their families

I don't think I'll ever forget what you've done for us.

Everyone's made sacrifices, raised a LOT of money for mesothelioma research and been the best friends in the world to us.

I loved chatting to Nigel about his trial at the Great Western Edinburgh University Clinical Trials Unit. His drug Opdivo has worked so incredibly well for him..his tumours have reduced dramatically.. and they need funding.

Wouldn't it be AMAZING to fund a trial that takes us one step further to a cure?

That's all for our trustees to decide.. and it's just lovely to DO SOMETHING.

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who donated or helped out. To all the #teamerasemeso #erasemesolejog team and families - what you've achieved means the world to us, and we couldn't be more grateful or be blessed with greater friends!!

Needless to say i cried a few tears when they finished..and even by the roadside in Scotland..

(particular shout out to last minute emergency PR help from Lucy Cotter - we were interviewed by ITN today and the piece will be on this week on London ITN news..)

There's still time to donate if you're keen to support/say well done

I'll report back after the ball..


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