21 YEAR OLD STUDENT Izzy Gregory is cycling from Crystal Palace to Barcelona to raise funds for Leukaemia and Lymphoma research in memory of her brother Jamie who died of leukaemia when he was eight – and she was just seven.
Along with two friends – Abby Bainbridge, 20, from North Dulwich and Georgia Tindley, 21, from Clapham – the intrepid trio will be setting off on their 1,500 km ride from the Gregory family home in Fox Hill where Izzy has lived all her life early on Thursday morning.
Izzy, who graduated in combined arts (English literature, anthropology and theology) at Durham university (Grey college). says she had always pictured herself spending the summer after her graduation “lazing around on a beach, in the garden or by a pool, relaxing and enjoying my long-awaited freedom.
“Somewhere along the line, however, this dream was forgotten and instead I will be embarking on the biggest challenge of my life so far – to cycle with two friends from London to Barcelona all with the aim of raising money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
“My involvement with this amazing charity goes back to when my older brother, and best friend, Jamie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) at the age of eight. “Though he fought incredibly bravely, he passed away only eight months later. “Losing Jamie and coming to terms with what happened has never been easy, but my parents Jane and Brian and I have always been determined to try and help make sure that in the future other families don’t have to go through what we did.
“Growing up, therefore, Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research has been, and still is, a huge part of my life and I’ve supported it in various forms from volunteering at head office in school holidays and at fundraising events, to putting on concerts and, of course, riding the London Bikeathon each year. “Over the years I have been privileged to see first-hand what a genuine difference the charity makes both through the groundbreaking research and trials it funds and make possible, together with the support and hope it gives to patients and families.”
Izzy says that with the 30-day ride spanning three countries and a total distance of around 1500km, cycling without support and camping along the way, the trip is going to be “an experience like none I have had before.
“I am not a regular cyclist – my prior ‘experience’ is mainly limited to participating in the London Bikeathon each year. And whilst I really enjoy the event, you definitely wouldn’t catch me going on a cycling holiday just for fun. “But I have wanted to complete an individual fundraising challenge for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research for a while now and luckily I found two friends who were crazy enough to join me on this journey.
“So from the moment we set off, to the inevitable saddle pain and tough moments along the way, I am sure it will be the thought of the money we have raised in sponsorship that will motivate me to keep going. “I know that however much my muscles hurt along the way it will be nothing in comparison to what Jamie went through and if the thought of finding better treatments and cures for blood cancers isn’t motivation enough, I don’t know what is!
“Once we’re on the road I will be updating as much as possible via Twitter @Ldn2Barca4Jamie so please feel free to follow that if you’re interested in how we’re getting on! “If you would like to donate please visit our page at www.justgiving.com/craziescyclinglondontobarcelona or text IMBG92 followed by £10 (or other amount) to 70070.
“Finally, I just want to say a massive thank you to all those who have sponsored us already, and to all our collective friends and families for all their support and for putting up with our non-stop bike chat for the last six months!”
NFCP readers can: Follow Izzy on Twitter @Ldn2Barca4Jamie
Sponsor Izzy at justgiving.com/craziescyclinglondontobarcelona
Text IMBG92 £10 (or other amount) to 70070