Who am I riding for.

For this event, I am riding to raise money for the Nottingham Queen Mary Hospitals Neuroscience Group and Sports Relief.  This is the all important link that everyone should have clicked on or will click on over the next 6 months.

Sport relief

With the nature of this challenge, Sports Relief is obvious charity to be linked to - I love a sporting challenge and the plans afoot for participation a in the workplace lends itself to this.  There is talk of ThermoFisher having a companion challenge of getting the staff to also ride the same distance over a week on static bikes.  The charity taps into to my sense of sporting adventure, being a parent and my past as a school teacher.

The money raised through Sport Relief helps some of the poorest communities and families in the UK and abroad, and the money contributed makes a direct impact on future generations.  Children who wouldn't have the opportunity to thrive due to their backgrounds get the opportunity that they otherwise would never get and that helps break the cycle.  As a parent I can give my all to give my own kids with a stable home life and give them opportunities large and small from my own personal sacrifices and income.  As a teacher I encouraged development and had the reward of seeing children form low social backgrounds exceed their expectations.  There are many children who don't have this opportunity due to circumstances which they can't control, therefore the least we can do is to help support them so that they in tern will help support future generations and become well round adults later in life.

For funding, Sport Relief is a big charity and many thousands to millions of participants contribute each drive, therefore my personal view is that other areas with impact which don't get the funding require recognition.  As Sport Relief falls at the end of March this year, my ride can't coincide with the Sport Relief weekend due to training preparations and sub-optimal weather.  As such, 25% of all the money raised will be handed over to Sport Relief through the Virgin Money page.

Nottingham QMC Neurodegenerative Support Group

The remaining 75% of the money raised will go to the Neuroscience Support Group at Nottingham's Queen Mary Hospital.  The link to their site is here.  The group aim at aiding the funding of research into neurodegenerative disorders both in high population impact areas such as Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis and in rare disorders with low incidence to help further our total understanding of neurological disorders.  They are doing this by providing aid in funding to early career scientists to help them gain larger grants and foster a research atmosphere for future career long progression.  By supporting graduates, PhD projects and research in this area, the return on donations leads to these scientists developing knowledge, therapies and treatments for a whole host of neurological disorders which can effect us from birth through to old age.

I support research in this area as in a lot of cases, the mechanisms and causes of degeneration are unknown, debilitating and require a lot of support.  In trying to live healthy and active lifestyles, risk factors can be reduced, however in certain disorders these will be congenital or inherited; or late onset and/or unpreventable.  For the patient, these disorders are frightening and give a feeling of hopelessness.  For those around them, the impact on their living quality of life in giving patients support is difficult.  I hate X Factor style sob-stories, but I have seen friend parents with MS and the impact on their lives and my own father was diagnosed around a decade ago.

So why give?

Simple.  Certain charities raise money for entirely preventable conditions where education and resources will help.   I support Sport Relief as you give children the opportunity to access health, learning and education which aid them in setting up for a life of self sufficiency and leads to independence and the ability to contribute to make a healthier and happier society for all of us.  I support the Neurodegenerative Support Group as it aids some of the most inevitable and debilitating conditions which can effect anyone and everyone as their years progress and restricts quality of life. If you give to or support these charatires, then there are real world impact which not only benefits those affected, but those around them and those that support them to make life easier for all of us in all walks of life.

How much will this hurt me (and really hurt me) and what am I sacrificing for this?

I rarely ask for charity money.  In the past, I have shaved my head for Children in Need (around 15 years ago!) and I've sold cakes in school with my form group for this, that and the other when I was a teacher.  I've donated money but I don't do the Facebook spamming with 5k runs, 20 minute swims, Tough Mudders and all the other events I see from my peers every other week - the Catherine Tate sketches come to mind.  For someone as active as me, it wouldn't be a major challenge for me to train for a 5 or 10 km.  Without belittling those that do, I can ride a 100 mile event without much effort and could ask for sponsorship for it would be rather insulting.

In contrast this event really does push me to the limit physically and mentally.  With 6 months to go, I have a real, genuine fear of failing as this'll be pushing my body far harder and further than it's ever been before.  The challenge of riding that distance appears ludicrous.  The challenge of riding for 24 hours straight is daunting.  To challenge of riding 700 km in 24 hours........ a wall of pain, hard work, sleep deprivation, sacrifice and personal discipline.  To go from my physical fitness today to standing on the Mall on the morning of the 10th of July I can not see being an easy task.



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