Cure Leukaemia are celebrating raising over £150,000 as part of their Blood Cancer Awareness Month fundraising challenge – The Tour of the TAP – in association with InchCape UK.
Across 10 gruelling days, charity Chief Executive James McLaughlin and a team of seven cyclists battled all elements as they worked their way across the country as part of their respective challenges. James completed 15 x 14km runs – to mark that every 14 minutes, someone is diagnosed with a form of blood cancer in the UK – the equivalent of ten half marathons across ten days, while the team of dedicated cyclists completed over 1,000 miles on the saddle across the same period.
The Tour of the TAP has raised over £75,000 over the past three years with James running solo previously to help fund the charity’s TAP Network. This year, he was joined by a team of cyclists with the aim of bringing the combined fundraising total for the event to over £225,000.
The charity funds the Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) which is a network of specialist research nurses at 15 blood cancer centres located in the UK’s biggest cities and saw the the teams cycle and run between the Centres as part of the charity’s gruelling challenge.
Cure Leukaemia Research Nurses across the UK allow clinical trials to run, giving patients from a catchment area of over 30 million people access to potentially life-saving treatments not currently available through standard care.
The teams began their challenge at Belfast City Hospital on Wednesday 13th September with a warm welcome from the nursing team, who were undertaking their own fundraising challenge for the charity – by climbing 14 floors of the iconic Belfast City Hospital Tower for 14 days – before working their way across the country, culminating in a final leg finishing as a team in Birmingham last week.
Along the way, the teams were joined by Patrons, Nurses, Clinicans and friends of the charity to keep spirits high as they visited the Cure Leukaemia-funded centres along the way.
Long-time supporter of the charity and The Tour 21 alumni Stephen Jones completed the 1,000 mile cycle and passed a landmark of personally raising over £400,000 for the charity over the years: “This week was rather more enjoyable (than the Tour de France.) Even though the weather was appalling – it really was biblical rain – I loved it, I’ve loved every minute of it. I think most of the riders did as well, it was extremely well organised, and in better weather it would be a wonderful route!”
Catherine Bennett, the lone female cyclist in the group this year, said: “I really struggled through some of the days, but then I thought – I chose to do this event. I chose to cycle 1,000 miles across the UK. People who are diagnosed with blood cancer do not get that choice in life. The pain that we have put ourselves through this week is nothing compared to the suffering that they (patients) go through during their treatment.”
Charity Chief Executive James McLaughlin was grateful for the support from the Centres as he completed his challenge – with no rest days in between for the first time:
“I think the collective running across so many of the Centres has been so much better for me because previously, I have ran a lot on my own, so to have so many people that we’ve had – over 40 runners of differing abilities – across the different stages over the last ten days, it has really pulled me through, so it’s really been given me a big boost to have people nearly every stage of the way.
“Both the Cardiff and Bristol legs particularly stand out for me. In Cardiff, we met our new Research Nurse, Zoe, who had just enrolled a first patient onto a new clinical trial that they are running literally while we were out running. Then later on in the day at Bristol, we met a young man who’d just been given the all clear having just had his last treatment of chemotherapy. This day in particular emphasised to me why we were raising funds this week!”
There is still time to support the team, simply text BCAM to 70450 to donate £14 and support blood cancer patients across the UK.*
*Texts cost the chosen donation amount plus one standard network rate message.