Former Pride in Peterborough winner completes epic cycle ride to help young family member with rare cancer
Fundraising father-of-two Tony Blood rode from his home in Orton Malbourne to Crewe in order to raise money for an 8-year-old family member with a rare bone cancer.
The challenge was in aid of an 8-year-old boy named Georgy, who is the son of Tony’s cousin Helen.
In 2018, Georgy was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma and the family are seeking to raise £240,000 to pay for private treatment abroad.
Tony’s challenge saw him take on the 130-mile distance between Peterborough and his home town in Cheshire, where Georgy lives, to contribute towards the total, which currently stands at over £170,000.
The challenge was an ambitious one for someone who had fallen out of love with his bike, but Tony completed it last Sunday (August 30).
He said: “It’s very much a challenge of my own design. I did a charity triathlon two years ago but haven’t been on the bike since. I’ve been training for a month now but the first week was a real eye opener.
“It’s amazing the things you come up with after a few beers.
“We’re all doing our bit in the family and the support has been amazing. So many people have got involved and are doing things to help out.”
The ride was completed in approximately 17 hours, including breaks as it was split up into four sections of roughly 30 miles.
It wasn’t without its challenges though as an issue with getting a connection for his GPS map on the third stage added, potentially, 10 extra miles to the journey.
Once the last stop was reached, at the Gresley Arms in Newcastle under Lyme, he was joined by family friend Roger Hill and the pair completed the journey together.
They arrived into Crewe just before 10pm and were greeted by a large crowd of family and friends.
He added: “The nightmare stage three set us back quite a lot so I appreciate everyone hanging around for me.
“I had a good night’s sleep and am now aching in some really strange places.
“There are too many people to thank individually but I would like to mention Luke Ferguson, who was there from the start to the very end and then drove two hours home.
“He kept me on track, fed and watered and I 100% wouldn’t have got through it without him.
“After the Garmin system went down at the start of stage three, I definitely wouldn’t have got to stage four without his quick thinking and support.
“There was also Roger, who joined me at the start of Stage four and thankfully had a route planned. “He was happy to stay at my pace, which wasn’t very quick at that point and stayed in front of me to give me some cover from the wind, then when my back light failed he stayed behind me to protect me from any cars.
“He was a massive help during stage four, which was the longest, steepest and most difficult stage by far.”
Tony (39) moved to Peterborough over 15 years ago as part of his job in the Royal Air Force and has lived here ever since with his wife Vicky.
He is no stranger to charitable acts, having been awarded both the Community Spirit and Overall winner awards at the 2014 Pride of Peterborough Awards, run by the Peterborough Telegraph.
His latest efforts are for a cause very close to home. Georgy’s family received the devastating news that he had been diagnosed with the highly malignant and very rare bone cancer on Easter Sunday in 2018.
The condition mostly affects children and young people and causes affected bones to become weaker.
The treatment is chemo and radiotherapy and that was what Georgy went through for 12 months. He was unable to eat, lost a lot of weight and the majority of his right was taken away and replaced with a titanium prosthesis.
He went into remission in March 2019 and started to return to some form of normality but in April this year, the cancer returned in his left sinus, just below his eye socket. More rounds of both chemo and radiotherapy followed and Georgy continues to fight the disease.
The family are now trying to raise enough money to get Georgy a stem cell transplant in Thailand to stop the cancer from returning.
The treatment is available in the UK but would not be considered unless Georgy was to relapse several more times.
The family are unwilling to put him through that so are seeking to have the procedure performed privately or put the money to use in any other treatment options that become necessary.
The family’s efforts, which are documented on Facebook, have received support from across the world. Fundraisers held include raffles, sponsored walks, pop-up cinemas and on Wednesday August 26 supporters were all encouraged to donate £1 and wear yellow. The campaign has even received public backing from Liverpool footballer Andy Robertson.
There is not a separate fundraising page for the ride, instead anyone wishing to donate has been encouraged to visit the family’s JustGiving page, click here.