On 28th July, one supporter decided to take on the Dunwich Dynamo – a 120-mile through-the-night cycle ride from Hackney in London to Dunwich on the Suffolk coast – in support of our Leckhampton Court Hospice. Here, in his own words, Jack tells us why.
I’d wanted to do the Dynamo for years but something had always got in the way. In 2017 it was the news of Mum’s diagnosis with pancreatic cancer.
She had two lots of chemo in autumn 2017 and spring 2018, which helped hold back the cancer a little and enabled her to continue something like normal life – working, playing tennis, looking to the future.
Sadly, she seriously declined in May 2018. She was unable to eat and was in a great deal of pain and suffering.
Struggling to care for her at home, we knew we needed some professional help so we called Sue Ryder.
“Sue Ryder transformed Mum’s final weeks”
In the seven days she stayed at Leckhampton Court Hospice, Mum was cared for 24/7 in a beautiful setting by wonderful, loving, skilled staff – from the palliative care consultant right through to the chefs.
She returned home from the hospice with her pain under control, a palliative care plan and without the great burden of anxiety that she was carrying before.
This hospice care transformed the final weeks we then spent with Mum. We had been gifted a peaceful time, relatively free of pain and suffering, in which to say goodbye from the comfort of the family home, as she had wanted.
When Mum died on Monday 9th July, just a few weeks before the 2018 Dunwich Dynamo, I talked to my friend Zoë about getting some friends together to raise funds for Leckhampton Court Hospice where my Mum Gill had been given such amazing care.
“The ride was an absolute joy”
I was understandably fragile so Zo did all the hard work rallying troops and promoting the JustGiving page.
I was amazed. People just kept joining our team – from experienced cyclists to complete novices, some even borrowing bikes! In the end, 17 of us met at the start, including my brother Will and friend Tom on a tandem – neither had been on a tandem before, let alone cycled 120 miles through the night on one!
The ride was an absolute joy: good conversation and making friends broken only by breaks for bacon sandwiches, chocolate bars and the occasional photo shoot (including outside the Sue Ryder charity shop at Needham Market!).
The full moon and a tailwind helped us on our way out of London, through Essex, and up and down the rolling Suffolk hills to the beach at Dunwich.
We arrived at 7.30am, having been cycling for nearly 12 hours, and all went in the sea before heading to the pub for breakfast.
Stroud and proud
I am so proud of all of the cyclists and our friends and family who supported us. Mum would have loved the cycle – the challenge, the chatter, the positivity, and the wind and sea at the end.
It feels very special to be able to support Leckhampton Court Hospice and Mum’s memory. We are already signed up for next year... See you at the start line!