I am soooo happy to say that after 18 months of training and 2 postponements, I finally completed London to Paris on a bike!
And wow what an experience it was too! 125 riders including 12 patients, 43 family and friends and 70 pharmaceutical employees. I can’t begin to explain just how humbling it was to see the swathes of orange myeloma shirts as you cycled out of London to begin on this epic adventure. That knowledge that EVERYONE riding was raising money to make a difference to my life and the life of other myeloma patients and families. Such an amazing feeling and I cried a number of times that first day as I cycled.
I met so many amazing people on this ride. I’ve spent the last 13 years since I was diagnosed, often quite self focused on MY myeloma and how it has impacted my life. Of course there have been other patients along the way (a number of whom I was riding in memory of), but during this period of five days, I heard the full journeys of 11 other patients. People who had been told they’d never ride again…but were riding with me. People who had broken bones in places you’d never imagine. People who had been so very ill. It was grounding in a way I can’t explain. Please don’t call me inspirational any more (not that I ever particularly related to the label!) – my journey has been nothing in comparison to some of these amazing folk.
It’s really quite difficult to explain why this ride was so amazing but all I can say is that if you have any affinity to Myeloma UK, it is the ride to do to get to Paris. The organisation is impeccable both by the charity and by Discover Adventure who ran the trip. The support crew is cheery, knowledgeable and totally spot on. The friendships you make are likely to be long term. The experience like no other. By the end of day one I wanted to do it again next year! By the end of day four, I still really wished I could!!
I also feel very lucky to have spent those days cycling with my fab niece Flis. I know how much I love my family, and I know how lucky I am to have such a big, caring family. But being so big, when we do all get together, there is often the downside that you feel that you only get short bursts with anyone. I think I spent longer speaking to her in five days than I’ve ever had the privilege to, in her whole lifetime! She was truly amazing and so lovely to be with. What many people on the trip didn’t realise is that she’s not only dealing with my diagnosis, but also the fact that her partners mum has been diagnosed with myeloma and also that her step-sister’s (my step-niece – although I see her purely as my niece!) father in law has myeloma. So unusual for so many un-blood related people to have myeloma in one family. But that aside, it was just so fab to get to know her even better whilst we bonded on this trip.
We spent four days cycling the 500km to Paris with it culminating with the 12 of us patients heading the peleton into the centre of France – absolutely phenomenal. The months of training had paid off and I had got there and wasn’t crippled from the experience. I had enjoyed (nearly!) every second of this fabulous experience.
I’m so proud to say that I’ve raised over £7,300 so far – but I’m not too proud to say that I’d love more! If you are even partially impressed with what everyone achieved, please donate by clicking here It would be so fantastic if I could get to £8,000!!!