The CEO of one of Cure Leukaemia’s charity partners is getting right back in the saddle at the start of 2019 as she steps up her preparation for two big cycling events.

Catherine Bennett, from Crewe-based caboodle technology, has previously supported Cure Leukaemia by completing Velo Birmingham in 2017 and being part of Team Revolution for London to Paris last September.

This year, there’s no messing about – she is planning for both!

“Although horses have always been my first love, I have started getting into cycling over the last couple of years,” says Catherine, who co-founded caboodle, employee benefits and engagement specialists, back in 2009.

“Although we are a fairly small company, four members of our staff have unfortunately come into contact with leukaemia either through friends or family, and we have heard a lot about the emotional rollercoaster ride that people have to go through as they receive treatment.

“What we heard about those people battling leukaemia has inspired us to try and help, and, even before we became corporate partners of Cure Leukaemia last year, I took part in Velo.

“The wife of one of our directors had passed away after suffering from leukaemia, and when he decided to take part in Velo, I agreed to give it a go as well.

“Prior to that the only cycling I had ever done was to ride to work – once! – but I was fully committed to the training and made sure I was ready.

“It was a big ask, but once I had got through Velo then, all of a sudden, London to Paris didn’t sound so daunting.”

Perhaps not, but Catherine – who took part in both Velo and L2P with colleague and caboodle’s HR manager Anne Wade, was faced with an additional and unwanted challenge not long before last September’s 500km ride from London to Paris.

“I fell off my horse at the beginning of July, detaching my Anterior Cruciate Ligament, and needed reconstruction surgery at the end of that month,” she added.

“Just a couple of months later, I was riding 500km from London to Paris so, without as much training as I would have liked, it proved quite a challenge!

“The support you get at the event is amazing, and not just from the roadside team and physios either – there’s a whole support network who get behind you and give you encouragement too.”

“Everything is organised so well that you don’t have to worry about anything apart from getting on your bike in the morning and completing the miles.”

“And it is such a memorable event, especially that sense of achievement you feel riding into Paris at the end, even with all the rain that greeted us on our arrival last year!”

“I am reliably informed the weather will be far better this time!”

Back then on to this September which, fittingly, is blood cancer awareness month, and Catherine is already off and running with her fundraising to ensure she goes beyond the minimum required for Velo Birmingham & Midlands (£400) and L2P (£1,400).

“I think it is very important when you commit to these events that you make sure you raise the money required which is going to help Cure Leukaemia,” she said.

“I have managed to hit the £500 mark already.

“It is all about looking at different ways of raising the money and not going to the same people all the time although everyone at caboodle has always been fantastic.”

“We’ve had bake sales, head shaves, and our own ‘Route 66’ challenge where we donated money based on the ‘virtual’ miles covered by staff in 66 days based on the famous route across America.

“Everyone is always so supportive when we do fundraising, and I am really looking forward to the year’s events.”