Setting off today, Fergus Gibson, from London, and Finley Taylor, from Hampshire, will complete a London to Paris cycle, going from the London Eye to the Eiffel Tower. The 300 mile cycle to raise funds is expected to take them four days. The pair are not seasoned cyclists, but were compelled to raise funds for the Charity in memory of Fergus’s brother Angus, who died from a brain tumour in November1998, aged just five.
Angus’s brain tumour was discovered after he started to experience pains in his legs and dizziness, and episodes of vomiting. He became lethargic, too, which was extremely unlike him. Angus was diagnosed with DIPG, the second most common type of high grade brain tumour in children, which is now known as Diffuse Midline Glioma. His shocked family were told he had just six weeks to live.
“Angus had boundless energy, a great sense of humour and pro-active in all that he did and enjoyed. He had a kind nature and was very protective of his sister and friends. He was quite mischievous at times which only added to his charms.
“His tumour was in the middle of the brain stem, and inoperable.
“Angus’s MRI scans travelled the world in efforts to save his life, sadly to no avail. He underwent radiotherapy, and was given steroids, but sadly Angus died in my parents’ arms at home on 21st November 1998, just six and a half months after his diagnosis.
“Many are not aware that brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40 with at least 88,000 children and adults currently estimated to be living with a brain tumour in the UK. By taking on this challenge, we hope to do our bit to raise funds and to support the work of The Brain Tumour Charity.” Fergus
Training for the London to Paris Cycle Challenge
Fergus, who works in Finance, and Finley, an aircraft engineer, have been training hard to get in good shape for the cycle. Finley said:
“We’ve spent the last few weeks putting in the miles and getting used to our bike seats! We’re both nervous of the challenge but we’re excited and ready to give it our best.
“We know there will be challenging points throughout. However, the most difficult points will be the final ten miles on Day One, as we climb the hills approaching Dover, and the first ten miles on Day Two, as we come out of Calais. The elevation in these areas will be tough but once completed, we hope for flatter roads towards Paris and fingers crossed, some nice weather along the way.”
Fergus is confident that the pair will spur each other on and conquer any tough moments together. He said:
“Fin and I have played a number of sports together and recognise that we’ll be approaching the challenge as a team, and as such there will be difficult moments that will require us to motivate each other to keep pushing forward.
“Seeing Paris for the first time will be a huge sigh of relief for us and likely an emotional moment. The other moments to savour will likely be at the end of each day when we look back at the distance we’ve achieved, and feel a sense of accomplishment, alongside reminiscing about the scenery we encountered along the route.
“We are overwhelmed by the support from family, friends and everyone who has donated already, and intend to complete the challenge with a smile on our faces!”
Pedalling towards a cure
The duo hope to raise as much as possible for The Brain Tumour Charity with their London to Paris cycle challenge, and having smashed their original target of £500, are now closing in on their new target of £4,000. They are supported by Fergus’s company, Legal and General Investment Management, (LGIM) who have pledged to donate 50p for each £1 up to £5,000.
Fergus said: “Since we began fundraising we’ve received many messages from people sharing their own experiences of brain tumours, either through family, friends, or sufferers themselves. It means a lot to take on this challenge in memory of Angus, and in support of others affected. To support the Charity’s work and to do this with Fin, a friend I’ve known for nearly half my life, makes it even more special.”