August 18th, 2014
When Dr Susan Anderson sets off in August with her 14 fellow Life Cycle 4 riders, she knows the challenge will draw on every ounce of her mental and physical reserves as she seeks to cover more than 1400 miles across Great Britain.
But the lecturer in Pathology in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences will draw strength from the fact that a courageous and inspirational teenager will be cheering her on.
Susan met Rebecca Clark, 15, when she joined fellow riders and colleagues supporting Life Cycle 4 at the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre (CBTRC) in Nottingham to hear about its work and meet some of the young people and families affected by cancer.
This year’s Life Cycle is in support of CBTRC and each rider is setting out in honour of a child who has suffered from this devastating illness. Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and the CBTRC has contributed to reducing the average time to diagnosis from 14 days to less than seven days, and to increasing survival rates from 50% to 75%.
Rebecca has been battling against first one and then a second brain tumour from the age of four. Her mum, Sue, said: “As a family we felt very privileged to have been invited along to the Brain Tumour Research Centre and to support the riders doing Life Cycle 4. Rebecca has been battling brain tumours for the last 10 years so, unfortunately, we know from personal experience just how vital their work is.
“I know the Life Cycle 4 riders feel honoured to be riding in memory of these special children but as parents we too feel honoured that they genuinely care enough to complete this challenge. Our family is one of the lucky ones, lots of children have, and will continue to lose their battle, unless the fund raising continues. Good luck to all the riders in achieving their targets and also in raising awareness of this illness.”
Dr Anderson, pictured with Rebecca, said: “I am humbled to ride in honour of Rebecca. Her courage and positivity in the face of a long and arduous battle is truly inspirational. As tough as this ride will be, I’m more convinced than ever that we need to help make a brighter future for young people like Rebecca and her family. When things get tough on the ride, Rebecca’s story will keep things in perspective.”
Vice-Chancellor Professor David Greenaway will be riding in honour of Sam White, who died aged 16 in September last year from a brain tumour.
Professor Greenaway said: “Any premature death is a tragedy but as a parent, I cannot begin to imagine what it feels like to learn your child is suffering from a life-threatening disease. I have been privileged to meet some of the patients being treated by our team and their families and I have been struck by their tremendous bravery and dignity. One remarkable young man, Sam White, sticks in my mind. Sam was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 12 and responded by being determined to live life to the full and do all he could to raise awareness of the disease.
“For the last three years together with colleagues, I have spent two weeks of my annual leave cycling over 1,100 miles to raise funds for a worthy cause. Shortly after Sam died, his mother wrote to ask me to raise funds for Children’s Brain Tumour Research, so this year I will be cycling to the four corners of Britain in honour of Sam with the Life Cycle 4 team to do what I can to help young people like him and their families in the future.”
Members of the public can make their own contribution to Life Cycle by taking part in a sponsored ride in Nottingham on Sunday 31 August.
Emma Pearson, Development Officer in the Campaign and Alumni Relations Office, said: “Each rider is riding in honour of a child, some of whom are undergoing treatment, others who are in remission and some who sadly lost their battle to this illness.
“Speaking to the families has been very powerful and I hope the funds raised will enable the CBTR team to continue to make a tangible difference by leading the fight against this devastating disease and offering hope to other families who may sadly be forced to undertake this journey. It is a privilege to work with the families who show great strength and fortitude and who inspire me with their determination and love.”
For more about Rebecca’s story and the other young people inspiring the Life Cycle 4 riders, and to find out how you can get involved, visit: www.nottingham.ac.uk/lifecycle
Tags: Campaign and Alumni Relations Office, CBTRC, Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre, Dr Susan Anderson, Emma Pearson, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, lecturer in Pathology, Life Cycle 4, Rebecca Clark, Sam White, Vice-Chancellor Professor David Greenaway
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