Antony Butcher: University of Leeds staffer sets off from New York's Times Square on 4,000 mile charity cycle

A man who works for the University of Leeds has set off from New York's Times Square as he seeks to cycle across America to raise money for his beloved mum.

By Alex Grant
Saturday, 23rd April 2022, 5:00 pm

Antony Butcher, from Ilkley, West Yorkshire, will seek to travel over 3,900 miles from New York to San Francisco.

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Antony is taking on the challenge in honour of his mum, Teresa, who lives with multiple sclerosis (MS).

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Antony is taking on the challenge in honour of his mum, Teresa, who lives with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Teresa was diagnosed with MS when Antony was 14 and he has been fundraising for the MS Society for almost 20 years.

“There’s nothing I can do to help my mum but I hope that by raising money for the MS Society it will support other people living with MS and critically to support research into MS so that we can get to a point where other people don’t have to go through some of the challenges that me and my mum have had to face." he said.

"Every day she loses a little bit more of her ability and independence. She’s lived in a nursing home since 2013 and has been in a wheelchair full time since about 2015. It’s been devastating to watch the impact of this neurological condition just slowly strip away the ability for my mum to live the independent life that she always wanted to live.”

The ride started on Friday from New York's iconic Times Square in the heart of the city, and Antony was joined by a number of local cyclists for his first day on the road.

Antony will spend the next three months riding nearly 4000 miles, finishing in San Francisco in the middle of July. His journey will take him across 3 mountain ranges and through 17 states.

He will cycle about 50-70 miles most days, with some longer days in areas where there are long distances between communities. He will be traveling by himself, and most nights he will be staying with Americans who have offered him accommodation for the night.

“After five years of planning, it is amazing to finally be on the road, raising money to support life changing research into Multiple Sclerosis." Antony said.

"Setting off from New York was really emotional and its incredible to see the support I’ve had - both in the United States and at home in Ilkley."

Antony is primarily raising funds for the MS Society, a cause that is close to his heart as his mum has been living with MS for over thirty years.

As well as raising money for charity, Antony is also hoping to raise awareness of mental health.

He plans to share his journey with local schools and community groups along the the route, having already shared his journey with over a thousand people in West Yorkshire.