Brian Smith, Ride for Ryder participant
Later his month, cyclists from across the county will be saddling to take part in Ride for Ryder, a sportive charity challenge, in support of Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.
Among them will be Brian Smith, who is getting on his bike to take part in the cycling event in memory of his wife, Annie, who was cared for at our hospice. Here, Brian talks about his motivation behind taking part in Ride for Ryder.
Giving something back
“This year will be my fifth ride in Ride for Ryder. I have always enjoyed cycling but after my wife Annie passed away from breast cancer I decided to challenge myself with my cycling to raise funds for Leckhampton Court who cared for her.
“Annie was just magic. We met through work and were together for 23 years. We weren't married but when Annie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 we got married shortly after.
"In early 2012 we received the diagnosis Annie had secondary brain cancer and that is when Sue Ryder came into our lives. We received Hospice at Home care and it was just superb. Annie was admitted to the inpatient unit in May to have her medication balanced under the care of the palliative care consultant, Dr Paul Perkins and then we came back home.
“When Annie was in the hospice, I saw the poster for the June 2012 Ride for Ryder and decided that this was a great way to raise funds and say thank you to the staff and volunteers at Sue Ryder. That first year I raised £2,500 thanks to the generosity of friends and colleagues.
“In early August Annie was admitted to the hospice again. We all thought we would be there for a week or so and would come back home, but that was not to be. Annie passed away on 3rd September.”
Doing something positive for the people we have lost
“I really enjoy the event. It is a real emotional up-lifter. I often speak to people who have been through a similar situation as me. We are all there wanting to do something positive for the people we have lost.
“Sometimes we talk on the ride, but I am often head down trying to beat the personal challenge I have set myself to raise money. There is a real buzz about the event this year and there are some fantastic new routes to take on – it is going to be a real challenge.
“I hold the belief that if people donate then it has to be for a real challenge – you need to do something for the money! This year I want to complete the 125km route in 4.5 hours, which means an average speed of over 18mph. Over the past four years I have raised £5,800 for the hospice this way and I want to keep going.
“The hospice is just awesome. When Annie was ill she couldn’t have been better cared for. Everyone there from volunteers to kitchen staff to nurses to consultants - they are all incredible.
“I ride not only to support the charity but to say thank you to them too. It is something I can do.”
You can donate to Brian’s cycling fundraising challenge online