Teams of intrepid fundraisers are taking on several adventurous challenges to show support for leukaemia patient Archie Stradling, in what combines to form a unique triathlon for Cure Leukaemia.
Archie, aged 14, is thankfully now in remission after treatment following his diagnosis last September, and is back attending Lavington School in Wiltshire, and playing football for his local League team.
Archie’s parents Richard and Caroline, their family and friends, and many linked to the school, have already raised almost £14,000 for Cure Leukaemia, and that figure is continuing to rise with so many more activities planned.
These include groups running the Bath Half Marathon in March, cycling from Southampton to Liverpool ahead of the final game of the Premier League season in May, and a team of students & teachers swimming the English Channel in July.
On top of that unique ‘triathlon’, Archie’s Auntie, Lucy, is planning a 3km fun run/walk next month and there are many more activities taking place as the ‘Go Arch’ team aim to give something back to Cure Leukaemia.
“I am delighted to say that Archie has come through the intensive treatment and is back at school and playing football,” says Dad Richard, who is part of the 16-strong group of runners taking part in the Bath Half Marathon.
“It was obviously a very difficult time after he was diagnosed but we have had so much incredible support.
“Archie is a Liverpool fan and has been up to Anfield for a game, received a video message and signed shirt from their captain Jordan Henderson, and will soon be going to watch Bath rugby thanks to their England full back Anthony Watson.
“Myself and my wife work at Lloyds Bank, and staff there have been fantastic, raising so much money, and Archie’s school have also been unbelievable in their support.
“Archie went on a new trial during his treatment and was the 113th child to receive this particular drug.
“The advances now being made in treatment thanks to funding from the likes of Cure Leukaemia are making a real difference to patients, and that is why we want to do these challenges and raise as much as we can.”
Another challenge is the bike ride from Southampton to Liverpool, all 280 miles of it, taking place across three days of May ahead of Liverpool’s final game of the Premier League season against Wolves.
A group of Richard’s friends are all taking to the saddle to show their support for Archie and Cure Leukaemia.
“As a group of friends we have moved to different areas, but when we heard that news about Archie our first thought was to see if there was anything we could do to help,” says Darren Bull.
“All the ideas were floating around our WhatsApp group, and for us, once we had shaved our heads and enrolled in the Bath Half Marathon we wanted to do something big. With Archie and Rich both being Liverpool fans and Southampton being a ground Archie had visited, we decided the best thing to do was to cycle between the two of them!
“As a group, we have all seen how inspiring Archie has been and we wanted to raise money and awareness to fight this disease.
“Any one of our children could have been taken ill, and we would all have rallied around to help, and while it is going to be a very testing challenge and not everyone has actually cycled before, we are looking forward to it.”
Other events which have taken place include sponsored head shaves and various activities by the Avon Group of Lloyds Bank, while Cure Leukaemia will be one of the beneficiaries from The Mines Cup football tournament and race night on the same weekend as the bike ride.
But potentially the most daunting challenge of all is that being undertaken by staff, students and parents from Lavington School, who are forming three different relay teams to swim the 28 miles from England to France in early July.
“When the students heard about Archie’s diagnosis they were really keen to undertake this mammoth challenge to show support for Archie and raise money for Cure Leukaemia,” said Lisa Adams, Assistant Headteacher at Lavington School.
“The Channel swim is often described as a swimmers’ Everest, with cold temperatures, sea sickness and not to mention the mental and physical battle the swimmers will face!
“It will be an incredible experience and even more rewarding to know that we will be being making a real difference with all the monies raised.”
How funds raised for Cure Leukaemia help save lives