Posts Tagged With: cancer research uk

Day 3: Tavistock to Moretonhampstead

Miles travelled: 28
Metres climbed: 800
Emergency snacks: chocolate nak’d bar

We’d planned a shorter day today as we knew we’d all be struggling with the hilly terrain and Alice wanted us to experience the FULL beauty of Dartmoor! It turned out to be lucky as we were all low on energy today and Mummy especially wasn’t feeling her best…

We set off in high spirits after a fantastic night at Claudine and Bills… They couldn’t have been better hosts and we feel so lucky to have met them!

imageAs promised Alice then set out to show us the full extent of Dartmoor… which was breath-taking despite the inclement weather…imageimage

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Even the ponies were friendly 🙂

But Mummy had her first low point of the trip… clearly she needs to adopt our ‘healthy’ diet of mars bars, jelly babies and coffee 😉 but it was nothing a chocolate nak’d bar couldn’t fix!

I think she’s learnt her lesson as she certainly didn’t skimp on the bread and pudding at dinner tonight! Let’s hope 70 miles tomorrow isn’t too much for us all…

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Day 2: Cubert to Tavistock

Miles travelled: 56 (involving large detours to avoid the A30)
Metres climbed: 1490
Emergency treats: entire bag of Jelly Babies, mars bar, 2 gel sachets, 6 large chocolate cookies, 4 bananas.

Three hours of up the biggest hills we’ve ever seen in the cloudy drizzle left us feeling eager for more so we did the last one twice!! (You can imagine how popular the navigator was!!)

We actually hit a bit of a low point just before Liskeard, but an entire bag of jelly babies and mars bar perked us up! We also got a yummy freecappuccino in Bugle (courtesy of the Bugle Inn :))
After sandwiches in Dobwalls the day perked up greatly… The sky cleared and the views were spectacular 🙂

We stayed as guests at the gorgeous Wonwood Barton, which was a little tricky to find, but we were greated by Claudine and Bill who made us feel immediately at home! They gave us hot showers, the best fish pie ever, yummy wine and entertained us all evening with their own cycling adventures!!

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Land’s End to Cubert… Hello Hills!!

Miles travelled: 54 (we’d mapped 47, so not quite sure what happened there!)
Metres climbed: 1174
Nak’d bars eaten: 1 Strawberry Crunch 🙂image

We are so happy to have made it to Cubert 🙂

Not realising quite what we were in for we decided to take the coastal route from Lands End. The scenery was more stunning than we could possibly have imagined, but the hills were… RELENTLESS! IMG_3082

The Hells Mouth Café was a life saver!!

The sea was almost always in sight 🙂

Here’s hoping tomorrow is flatter!!

 

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On our way…

We are currently on the train to Penzance and it doesn’t yet feel real!At Reading Station

In some ways it feels a lifetime ago that we dreamt up this crazy adventure, when we had (somewhat delusionally) hoped that Daddy would be following us on our route taking in the best golf courses along the way… Yet at the same time the last few weeks and months have whizzed past at lightening speed and I suppose the most we can say is that we’re probably as ready as we’ll ever be! Hopefully Daddy will be watching over us (and ideally, blowing any bad weather away!)

We have been completely overwhelmed by all the support, kindness and generosity we have received from old friends, new acquaintances and some people who hardly even know us. Without all this we would never have even made it this far… A few people in particular have made an especially massive difference!

Danny at cycles UK – thanks for being the first to believe in our dream all those months ago and giving us such awesome bikes 🙂 when you asked what bikes we wanted and I just said “anything better than a Boris bike” you could have just laughed me out of the shop, but you helped us turn our plan into action! Thank you 🙂

Borut Strel – thank you for showing us such An awesome time in Croatia and kick starting our swimming training – your confidence and humour were just what we needed and hopefully your training tips will mean we survive our swim 🙂

Tori Gorman – you are an inspiration – swimming the channel makes Windermere seem like just a moderate sized puddle!!

Two people in particular (you know who you are!) have gone above and beyond the bounds of ordinary friendship… From kayaking behind us for 7hours in pouring rain to taking time off work to sort our bikes, our cars, our kit. We can’t thank you enough… And if you keep us afloat for the length of Windermere you will truly be heroes!!

It it is frightening how many people we’ve met recently who are suffering with Oesophageal cancer whenjust a couple of years ago I didn’t even know it existed. Hopefully the money we have raised will help in some way (however tiny a way) to mean that a cure can be found sooner… And hopefully focussing on that thought will get us up the tougher hills and through the colder patches of water!

Here is a video I watched recently when looking for inspirational pep talks – Randy Pausch famously delivered this lecture on “achieving your childhood dreams” when he knew he was dying of pancreatic cancer. It was his way of making a lasting contribution and leaving behind a memorable message for his children! His attitude is inspirational…

http://www.ted.com/talks/randy_pausch_really_achieving_your_childhood_dreamshttp://www.ted.com/talks/randy_pausch_really_achieving_your_childhood_dreams

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Buttermere and Crummock Water: End to End and Back again… Twice!

No cycling this weekend… but we did make up for it by swimming over 8 miles in the Lake District 🙂

All the advice we’ve had said we needed to do at least one swim over three hours, so we decided that we would do two end-to-end-and-back swims in a weekend and despite the dreadful weather we managed about 5 hours swimming and had a great time! We were very lucky to find an Open Water Swimming shop – Head to the Hills –  entirely by accident next to our B&B in Ambleside. I persuaded Alice that she really did need a wetsuit to spend over 3 hours in water below 17 degrees. Even she ended up being grateful for the added warmth which made all the difference – we’d never have completed the mileage without it!

Saturday was Buttermere (about 3 miles) and was actually a pretty enjoyable experience – we were apprehensive about our first proper lake swim – and although our boat support did their best, we certainly missed Borut’s calm reassurance (from Strel Swimming Adventures)!

We set a very leisurely pace and probably because of this – I was surprised how much I enjoyed the swim. The scenery was absolutely breath-taking in every direction which meant I kept wanting to look up, but for the first time I did manage to get into a reasonable rhythm and actually just began to enjoy the experience – I couldn’t believe how easy it felt! However, (maybe because she thought things were going too smoothly!) Alice made the mistake of removing her wetsuits half way… and ended up nearly blue by the time we’d finished!! It was a valuable lesson to learn before attempting Windermere! Luckily the Croft House Farm Cafe supplied us with copious quantities of “ButterBeer”, a drink I thought only existed in the pages of Harry Potter, but turned out to be a delicious concoction of warm milk, butterscotch syrup (apparently from a secret recipe) cream and marshmallows! It was absolutely what we wanted with our yummy sandwiches we’d brought from The Apple Pie shop in Ambleside!!

As we emerged from the cafe the clouds cleared and we enjoyed the beautiful scenery before celebrating in style with more conventional ale, pie and the most competitive game of Jenga I’ve ever played at the nearby Langstrath Inn 🙂

Sunday at Crummock Water was a little harder… the Weather was worse, the swim was longer and we were already tired, but we (or more realistically our support team – You were amazing guys!!) were committed to at least making a start. We rented a boat from the Wood House, where the owner was distinctly unhelpful, although he did reluctantly provide us with a mop bucket to bail out the water! Getting in was not very appealing, but the promise of a second round of ButterBeer kept us going – we set ourselves a target, if we completed the end-to-end and back in over 3.5 hours we would have to forgo the cakes and drinks – it was clearly sufficient motivation as we completed the five miles in just over 3hrs 15mins! The last hour or so was difficult, my arms were tired and felt a bit like jelly, but we were in a good rhythm again and our wonderful support crew made all the difference – stopping us like clockwork every 20 minutes for isotonic water, jelly babies and carbohydrate gels. Actually given how rubbish our boat was, they probably had a tougher time of it that we did. Alice admitted that she kept herself going by dreaming up new cake recipes… I’m hoping she’ll start making some of them! They sounded unusual but yummy… hopefully I can post some photos soon!

Now that we are back it seems like a bit of a dream. About this time last year a great family friend took us on a wonderful tour around the lakes, and if he’d suggested then as we drove past Crummock water, that just a year later we’d be swimming it both of us would have thought he’d developed a severe case of dementia!! Amazingly though, the fact that we struggled initially with open water swimming makes these little achievements all the more rewarding! We did imagine Daddy looking down on us and felt sure he’d have approved – he always was a massive Water Baby!! We drove home feeling like we’d really made a breakthrough and Windermere might just be achievable after all! Although it was a little disconcerting when we stopped to have look at the longest lake in England and realised that from our viewpoint neither end of the lake was within sight!

Oh well… I guess we’ll just have to take it 20 minutes at a time!! Amazingly we’re actually beginning to look forward to the challenge 🙂

 

 

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So Grateful, Humbled and Overwhelmed…

We have been overwhelmed by the all the many and various ways so many people have supported us through this difficult time. With relatives flying round the world to surprise us, old friends making wonderful and moving tributes and so many people offering their condolences both in person at the funeral and in many beautiful letters. We are simply humbled by all the support and know that Daddy would be so  touched – as someone wrote in one of the letters it is ironic that his funeral probably turned out to be the one party he would have died not to miss!

We couldn’t believe that even his gym sent us flowers…

The funeral was never going to be an easy day, but we were strengthened by the tremendous support of all our family and friends. We are so grateful to so many people, but especially Reverend Jenny Edmans for allowing us to use the All Saints Church in Brill and for guiding us through such a beautiful service; Esther Brazil for her heartbreakingly beautiful rendition of Laudate Dominum, which reduced us all to tears, but was the perfect send off! And S&R Childs for making the process as easy as it could possibly be under the circumstances and providing everything we asked for and many things we didn’t even know we needed. Daddy would have especially loved the yellow flowers which are still brightening up the house…

Perhaps the biggest tribute of all was the massively unexpected generosity of all who donated to the collection at the Church – even the Funeral Director couldn’t believe that we collected over £1700, which will go towards Cancer Research UK and hopefully ensure that others do not have to suffer as Daddy did.

We are also grateful to the fantastic recommendation of the Idle Rocks in St Mawes, where we took Mummy after the funeral for a surprise break in the hope that a few days away from it all would make everything easier to face…

It couldn’t have been a more perfect place and in the spirit of Alice’s poem, even the dreadful weather seemed appropriate…

I Live On

 I died but did not leave you.

I am here, and have not gone.
Though my spirit left my body
don’t be sad, for I live on.
 
 

My love is all around you.
Can you feel it? Can you see?
That gentle breeze upon your face

is not the wind… but me.
 
 

I’m the sweet song of a bluebird

when spring is in the air.
I’m the roses in a garden.
You can find me everywhere.
 
 

Whenever you are missing me

look up to heaven’s skies.
I’m the twinkle in the stars.
I’m the sunset, and sunrise.
 

 
I’m a raindrop and a rainbow.
I’m the ocean’s waves of blue;
So everywhere you go you’ll know,
I live on, loving you.

 

Despite everything we cried, laughed, walked (for miles!) and had a wonderful few days together…

On our last morning we awoke to an enormous rainbow encircling the town – perhaps we have all gone crazy, but we decided to interpret this as a sign that Daddy approved…

 

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Brave, Gentle and Loving to the end… Always an Inspiration

We know he only liked to share good news, but we don’t know how to make this sound they way he’d want it to…

David died on Monday (14 April 2014) with his family by his side.

His funeral will be on Wednesday 23rd April at All Saints Church, Brill, Buckinghamshire at 11am and all are welcome at Oak Grove afterwards to share stories and remember and celebrate his life.

He couldn’t have been a more loving husband, a better father or a greater man. We feel honoured, humbled and so privileged to have had him for so long. He will be forever in our hearts and we hope he will forever watch over us from a better place.

We are so grateful for the many beautiful letters from dear friends, including the quote below, which really captures his essence…

Some people just can’t help making a difference in our lives,
By simply being who they are,
They make the world a little brighter,
A little warmer,
A little gentler,
And when they’re gone we realise
How lucky we are to have known them.

Daddy, words can never convey how much we love you.

With you watching over us, we are more determined than ever to raise awareness and fund research in the hope that others will not have to suffer as you have done. Your kindness and Integrity will be a constant source of inspiration and we will forever draw strength from the many happy memories you’ve left us with…

Daddy never seemed to want to speak about death and we respected his wishes. But afterwards we wished we knew what his views had been; what he had feared, what he had hoped for. As if in answer he left a reference to this poem amongst his papers in the office…

Death is Nothing at All

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other, 
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight? 

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well. 

Cannon Henry Scott-Holland
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Feeling more motivated than ever as we start our training in earnest…

It’s been a tough weekend with Daddy seeming to take quite a turn for the worse, but he’s still every bit as much a hero as ever!

The NHS have miraculously provided us with Celine – a “live-in” carer, who couldn’t be kinder – we feel so lucky to have her. But even she has said that she cannot understand how he can still be so alert and considerate despite all he’s going through – always apologising and thanking us all. Despite her 8 years as a carer she assured me that she has never encountered anyone with, “such a strong heart”, as she puts it.

His courage, patience and bravery are an inspiration to us all! And we couldn’t feel more keenly the desperate needs to raise funds to find new treatments for this all too common and all too barbaric disease.

At his insistence Alice and I went ahead with our first ever 20 mile bike ride into the centre of Oxford and back… aside from the hills it felt surprisingly easy – we had arranged to meet some friends for moral support and re-fuelling at the Isis Farmhouse, a really unusual Oxford tavern by the river. We were impressed by the Isis’s Chocolate Beetroot Cake and their scones weren’t too bad either 😉

 

It was good to get some fresh air, a quick endorphin fix and a sugar top-up…  Judging by Alice’s smile it certainly seemed to work for her!

it is magical down by the river and we even saw a few ducklings which plopped into the water one after the other before I got a chance to take a proper picture…

Isis Farmhouse (4)

Tikkun Olam – Our lovely cousin was with us today and he mentioned the Jewish theory of “Tikkun Olam” or the sense of responsibility that we all have to ‘heal the world’  and it just made me think that, while he may not have been religious, throughout his life and still even now Daddy has honoured this principle.

If only the world could heal him back.

 

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A big Thank You!

We are so grateful for so many unexpected acts of kindness! This week a few people who don’t know us personally have sponsored us and we are really touched by the support!  I am sorry that we cannot say thank you more directly to our anonymous donors, but we can at least thank you here and hope that you might see it.

Perhaps even more touching are the words of encouragement from one donor: “You are doing something amazing and my heart goes out to you. It’s people like you that keep the world moving in the right direction. Never lose faith.” You really made our day – Thank you!

We’d love to hear your story if you know someone who has suffered with this disease. We’d also really love to hear if you know anyone who has found any food, treatment or therapy (conventional or otherwise) particularly helpful, as we’d love to share this information with our Dad and others!

Please feel free to:

–       comment on this blog

–       post on http://www.facebook.com/bikesplashbike

–       email us at: bikesplashbike@gmail.com

We are also really grateful to Debbie Waite, who has written a lovely article about our challenge in this week’s Oxford Mail, which you can read here.

All this kindness reminded me of George Saunders’s Commencement speech on kindness, which he gave at Syracuse University. I discovered it by chance a few months ago and shared it with my Dad, who is genuinely the kindest person I know! It made us both cry and is definitely worth reading if you haven’t already. You can read it here. I can’t recommend it enough!

 

“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” ~Bob Kerrey

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Facing the fear: riding the Boris Bikes to work… and back!

Thanks to the tube strike today I finally ran out of excuses and cycled all the way to work… and back! And after nearly 2 hours on a bike in the streets of London I’m still here to tell the tale :).

My last experience of riding a bike in a town was through the cobbled streets of Florence with crazy Italian drivers swerving and honking their horns, but this morning was even more frantic. At least it was a steep learning curve. I now know:

Facing my fear of London cycling felt amazing. I can’t believe I have spent so long walking around London, when cycling makes everything so much more accessible and more fun! Now I have no excuse not to do it at least a couple of days a week… hopefully the terror will fade!

Never been so happy to get home in one piece!!

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