Their knees were sore, their tyres were flat – but the magnificent Demelza 101 cyclists who rode into Paris on Saturday (05 May) were on top of the world.
Four days and over 300 miles after setting out from Demelza Kent, our hospice in Sittingbourne, the riders from all over Kent, East Sussex and South East London arrived to a rapturous welcome at the foot of the Eiffel Tower from their families and Demelza representatives.
There they heard the news that together they have raised an incredible £100,000 towards Demelza’s work with children with terminal conditions and their families.
Matt Freestone from Brighton, took part in memory of his daughter Abigail who was cared for by Demelza.
He was joined on the ride by his 16-year-old son Josh – the youngest-ever participant to take part in the Demelza 101 cycle ride, which is now in its third year.
Matt, 44, said: “We knew that our time with Abby would be short, so we wanted to create memories and family experiences that we would come to cherish. Demelza helped us to do that, The Demelza 101 challenge is our way of giving back to Demelza so the charity can continue helping other families in need.”
Mel Day, 39, from West Malling, is part of the Demelza care team, providing expert and compassionate care for children and young people with terminal conditions and their loved ones, so they can enjoy their time together as family, for as long as they have.
The Children’s Palliative Care Nurse is based at Demelza’s other hospice in Eltham, South East London, and has raised £1,800 in sponsorship.
Mel said: “I’ve always loved running and it’s a great way of coping with the emotional aspects of my role as it gives you the time to think, reflect and let go. But since training for the Demelza 101 I’ve found a new love for cycling.
“It’s a tough challenge but knowing I’m riding for the children, young people and families supported by Demelza got me through. It’s an amazing thing to be a part of and I’d encourage anyone to give a Demelza fundraising challenge a go.”
As a charity, not part of the NHS, Demelza is almost entirely dependent on the generosity of its supporters to provide the funds that keep its vital services going.
Hayley Richardson, Head of Community and Events, said: “We are so grateful and proud of every one of the Demelza 101 riders, and amazed by how much they have raised, which will make an enormous difference to the care and support we give.
“We have a jam-packed calendar of fundraising events and we hope others will feel inspired to take on their own #TeamDemelza challenge.”
Feeling inspired to take on a fundraising challenge for Demelza yourself? Why not take part in the Great Wall of China Trek in October 2019?
To find out more please visit the Demelza China Trek 2019 event page