Current and ex-West Midlands firefighters are gearing up to burn some serious rubber when they set off on a gruelling nine-day cycling challenge in aid of charities close to their hearts.
Peter Haslam and Steve Horsley from Sutton Coldfield, Richard Beech from Tamworth and Steve Nutt from Pelsall, will set off on a 1,000-mile ride between Lands End to John O’Groats on Saturday (August 20th)
The friends, who call themselves ‘The Four Amigos’ are saddling up to collectively raise money for Warwick’s Molly Ollys as well as The Firefighters Charity, Cyclists For Cancer and The Royal Marines.
It’s particularly heartfelt for 49-year-old dad-of-three and ex-Marine Peter whose family has experienced first hand the valuable work of two of the charities involved.
Peter’s son Ted has been left confined to a wheelchair following a battle with a Stage 4 cancer called Burkitts Lymphoma, which was diagnosed at the age of three.
He said: “The first sign of a problem was extreme pain in his lower back. By the time he was diagnosed after eight days it was too late to save his spine because the tumour was doubling in size every 25 hours and by this time it was 10cm long. Turns out he also had a small golf ball size tumour behind his eyes.
“Ted was determined and stoical throughout cancer treatment. The hardest part was when myself and Jo were told that the treatment wasn’t working and that we should consider palliative care. This thankfully turned out to be a mistake but this period was the toughest time we have ever faced.”
Ted, the youngest of three children to Peter and Jo, was given the all-clear just before his fourth birthday and following nine months of intensive chemotherapy and two months in Stoke Mandeville Spinal Centre.
Ted received a handbike courtesy of Cyclists For Charity as well as soft play equipment from us at Molly Ollys, something the family says made a huge difference following his treatment.
“Molly Ollys is an amazing charity that gives so much to children who are living with serious illness. It also gave us the opportunity to meet and share experiences with other families going through a similar experience,” said Jo Haslam.
The men, who are all experienced cyclists, have been busy clocking up plenty of training miles for the big ride this weekend and will be supported by drivers following in a West Midlands Fire Service minibus stocked with essential kit, spare bikes and food supplies.
Richard Beech, 54, said: “We have all been riding for at least 15 years and regularly ride at weekends. In terms of training we have have been increasing distances over the last few months so know we are capable of riding well over 100 miles in a day but riding that distance every day for nine days is another matter! Saddle sores, wind, rain and hills are all part of the challenge.”
To support The Four Amigos on their cycling challenge visit: https://www.justgiving.com/team/AmigosLEJOGRide