Castleford friends take on gruelling 155-mile bike ride in memory of toddler who died after leukaemia battle
A group of cyclists will set off on a gruelling 155-mile bike ride this weekend in memory of a little boy who died after a battle with leukaemia.
Arlo Brown died in February, aged two, after beating a rare blood cancer - but tragically his immune system had been weakened by the disease and he developed a bleed on his brain.
His dad Paul will hit the saddle with more than a dozen friends on Saturday as they cycle from their hometown of Castleford to Bridlington, and back, in one day.
'Arlo's Army' are raising money for the Give A Duck Foundation and Leeds Children's Hospital, which provided invaluable support to the toddler and his family during his treatment.
The JustGiving fundraiser is nearing its £5,000 target, with half the funds set to buy 100 chemo ducks to support children with cancer.
The ducks are fitted with medical lines and ports to mirror those of the child, helping to prepare them for their treatment.
“The duck was Arlo’s comforter," Paul told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
"He took it everywhere - for every hospital and clinic visit and even carrying it around at home.
“It’s a learning curve for children to learn how to cope with things.
“Now Arlo’s not here, I want to do as much as I can for the charity as it had a massive impact on our lives.”
The remaining £2,500 raised will be donated to Ward 31 of Leeds Children's Hospital, where Arlo spent much of his life with his mum Jodie.
Paul was unable to be by his toddler's side during his treatment due to Covid-19 restrictions, but he praised staff who comforted the family during Arlo's final days.
“Arlo was a joy," the 36-year-old added.
"He was always smiling and waving, he was a cheeky little chap but in such a cute way.
"We have good days and bad days, but the support has been overwhelming - you don't realise how many friends you've got.
"It’s going to be a gruelling ride and the weather doesn’t look like it's on our side, so to see that group of lads jump on their bikes and peddle all that way will be amazing.
"It will be a massive achievement and I can't thank the lads enough."
The gruelling challenge will see the team set off from Castleford at 5.30am on Saturday, supported by Jodie and the Give A Duck Foundation who will follow the riders in a van.
The charity's head of fundraising, Brian Curran, said: “The event brings in much-needed income so we can continue to expand through the UK. But it’s also a huge inspiration for everyone who’s involved with Give A Duck.
“The ducks help make life a little easier for the children, helping to prepare them for the challenging and sometimes painful treatment they have to endure.
“I want to thank every business which has got behind this, it shows the generosity of local people who want to help such an awful situation.
“We’re always looking for people to raise money, even if it’s not as challenging as the Arlo’s Army bike ride. Without every person who has supported this and other events, we wouldn’t be able to continue our work.”
Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.