200 mile cycle ride in 24 hours for Breast Cancer Kent for Hever Castle staff member

May 16 2022 | Castle

A team of cyclists are taking on an epic challenge to ride 200 miles in 24 hours to raise funds for a charity which helped a Hever Castle staff member.

The team of 5 riders will cycle through the night on 10/11 June to raise vital funds for Breast Cancer Kent.

They were inspired to take on the challenge after Helen Francis, the wife of cyclist, Dave Francis was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 42.

Helen, who works as a PR Executive at the historic attraction, started experiencing pain in her breast and a visit to the doctors confirmed a lump. Two weeks later in September 2021 the family were given the devastating news that it was breast cancer.

She has undergone 6 months of chemotherapy at the Kent Oncology Centre in Maidstone and is due to have a mastectomy in May (2022) followed by radiotherapy.

Helen said: “Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer for women and 9/10 women overcome it but we still don’t know enough about what causes it. I was young and healthy, running and swimming regularly and never thought I could get cancer so it was a huge shock and really hard for our family, particularly breaking the news to our 7 year old son, Orson.

“Chemotherapy has caused side effects including nose bleeds, debilitating tiredness and hair loss and my low immune system has resulted in two blood transfusions and a stay in hospital with sepsis.

“But through the amazing care of the team at Maidstone Hospital I am recovering and the tumours are shrinking so we all wanted to do something to say thank you and ensure others in the same situation have the same incredible care.

“Breast Cancer Kent funds projects, equipment and research to support the work of the medical teams in the local area, including Maidstone – who have helped me so much – so it seemed an obvious choice to raise money for them. Their patient app has also been invaluable in providing me with useful information at each stage of my treatment.”

Dave as a keen cyclist roped in friends Pete Cowell, Adam Scriven, Joff Brown and colleague Stuart Robinson to join him on the ride which will take place from 6pm on the 10th June to 6pm on the 11th June.

Wilf Barsley is among those on the support crew.

Dave said: When something like this hits you as a family you feel helpless. All you can do is support your wife the best you can. Seeing all the support given by Maidstone Hospital and Breast Cancer Kent inspired me to see what we could give back. This ride is a significant challenge for all of us, who aren’t in the best physical condition, but the pain of the saddles will be nothing verses what anyone undergoing cancer treatment endures. And before you ask, no Ebikes here.

Hever Castle has provided sponsorship for the challenge, alongside Dave’s employer BrandSafway who support the construction and industrial industries in the UK, under the names, Brand Energy, Lyndon-SGB, Taylor Hoists and Hünnebeck.

Managing Director of Lyndon-SGB, part of BrandSafway Stuart Robinson is also part of the team on the epic ride.

Helen Teare from Breast Cancer Kent said: “Breast Cancer Kent is delighted that this incredible cycling team have chosen our charity for their fundraising challenge this year. This has become a community event and we are thrilled to be supported in this way. We wish the whole team the very best as training begins ready for June. And see you in East Peckham on the 10th June!”.

As well as the cycle ride the team are organising a cake sale on Saturday 25 June 2pm – 4pm in East Peckham village centre and a band night and raffle at East Peckham Village Hall at 7.30pm on Saturday 25 June.

To buy tickets for the band night (costing £10) please call 01622 870199 or email [email protected]

To sponsor the cycle ride go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/200-miles-24hrs