Leeds charity shop manager gets into gear for Cancer Research UK’s Cycle 300

PIC: Richard Walker
PIC: Richard Walker
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A Leeds charity shop worker is getting back on her bike to highlight Cycle 300, an exciting new fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK.

Jeanette Boyle, who manages the Cancer Research UK shop on Town Street, is urging men and women to join her and sign up now, then choose how, when and where to clock up 300 miles on a bike in September.

Cycle 300 is a totally flexible individual fundraising challenge where participants are asked to cycle the 300 miles to raise money for Cancer Research UK, picking their own routes and pace.

There are many ways to hit the 300-mile mark. Commuters can to notch up ten miles a day on their cycle to work. Weekend enthusiasts can plan epic 75-mile routes through the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, while gym bunnies can step up the spin classes to hit their target.

Jeanette, 59, admits she hasn’t cycled for a while, but she has been inspired to get her bike out of the shed and sign up to take part in Cycle 300 in celebration of her brother David, who is now able to talk again after treatment for cancer.

David, 55, who lives in Keighley, was diagnosed with throat cancer two years ago. His treatment resulted in him having his voice box removed, taking away his ability to speak. But after being unable to talk for a year, David recently had surgery to have a speaking valve fitted and is now getting back to chatting away to his family and friends.

Jeanette, who lives in East Bierley, said: “In my 15 years working for Cancer Research UK, I have known so many colleagues and customers who have faced cancer, but it was so hard when it happened to my own brother. David had a really bad cough for some time and after his GP sent him to Bradford Royal Infirmary for tests, they discovered cancer in his throat. He had laser treatment, then radiotherapy every day for three weeks, but the cancer was still there. The doctors then told him he would have to have surgery to remove his voice box, which would mean he would lose his voice.

“That was a year ago, but David, and the rest of us, didn’t realise at the time what effect this would have on his life. But his friends and family all joined together to support him as he adjusted to life without a voice. He went around with a little dry wipe board and pen and he used visual tools, such as mouthing the words and using his hands to help him communicate. But it was hard to watch his frustration.

“After having the speaking valve fitted it is giving him a voice again and he’s getting back to more of a normal life. Every day his speech is improving, and he is starting to sound more like the David we were all used to. It is wonderful to see him so much happier and doing so well after all he has been through.”

Jeanette added: “David was always a keen cyclist and is now able to get back in the saddle, but I haven’t been on my bike for years. So when I heard about Cycle 300, I thought this was a great opportunity to do my bit to celebrate my brother’s new voice by getting my bike out of the shed and signing up.

“The good thing about Cycle 300 means I can choose how, when and where I do it, so that it fits in with me. I plan to go for some longer rides at the weekend along the canal near where I live, and some of my work colleagues are going to sign up and join me too.

“I will be thinking of my Brother David every pedal I take towards those 300 miles.”

Taking on Cycle 300 is also a great way to enjoy the health benefits of cycling and keeping active. As well as helping to build fitness and burn excess calories, cycling regularly encourages a healthier heart, can improve mood, and can also protect against a range of diseases – including cancer. Depending on weight and effort, participants could burn roughly between 400 to 750 calories per hour of cycling.

After not being used for a while, Jeanette knows her bike might need a bit of attention first, such as checking her tyres and brakes.

She said: “I am very lucky that we’ve got such a great bike shop in Horsforth, just a few doors away down Town Street. I am really grateful to Chris, Lyndon and the team at Holy Spokes for all the help and advice they have given me to get me and my bike safely back on the road.

“And Holy Spokes have got even more behind the campaign by promoting the event in their shop to their customers and generously offering a 10% discount off servicing, parts and accessories during September to anyone else who signs up to Cycle 300.”

Nicki Embleton, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Leeds, said: “We are very grateful to Jeanette and to Holy Spokes for their support and hope it will start a chain-reaction, sparking the interest of cyclists of all ages and abilities.

She added: “You can sign up to Cycle 300 on your own or make it more social by challenging family, friends and colleagues to join you. It’s a fantastic opportunity to commit to a healthy challenge now, so you have something to aim for in September.

Nicki continued: “One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Research is very expensive and the only way we can afford to fund it is with the help of our supporters. By taking part in Cycle 300, men and women can make a real difference in the fight against the disease.

“Everyone who participates in Cycle 300 will be supporting the efforts of doctors, nurses and scientists working on the front line against cancer.”

To sign up now for a free fundraising pack visit www.cruk.org/cycle300