“Relentless hills” didn’t stop Mike’s Ride Across Britain charity fundraiser

Friday 21st September 2018

“Relentless hills” didn’t stop Mike’s Ride Across Britain charity fundraiser

An epic 980 miles on a bicycle, hills totalling 52,000 feet to climb – the Deloitte Ride Across Britain wasn’t going to be easy. But for QVH Charity supporter Mike Gwynn, the support of his friends and family, and knowing the difference his fundraising would make was the motivation he needed to keep on pedalling.

Mike was one of 870 cyclists taking on the epic nine-day challenge from Land’s End to John O’Groats which ran from 8-16 September. For him, as well as the personal achievement of completing the ride, it was about saying thank you to Queen Victoria Hospital which has provided his brother-in-law with life-changing support whilst he recovers from facial palsy.

Facial palsy is a term used to explain a weakness of the facial muscles, caused by temporary or permanent damage to the facial nerve. Those with facial palsy will have at least part or all of their face paralysed, and can also have the movement of their eyes and or mouth affected.

Bob suffered from total facial paralysis and complete hearing loss on one side. After his initial recovery, Bob’s niece, Mary, who works at the Queen Victoria Hospital, told him about the hospital’s facial palsy service, the UK’s first and largest, which treats palsy and paralysis patients from across the country. Bob was referred and has been seeing the multi-disciplinary team ever since.

Commenting on the ride Mike said: “The word I’ve been using for the overall experience is epic. It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever done by quite a distance, and I’d spent nine months trying to get my old legs into some sort of shape beforehand.

“The hills are relentless, and if you want to know just how hilly this country is, get on a bike! To put it in perspective, we climbed hills totalling 52,000ft (15,850m) over the entire ride which is only 4,000ft short of twice the height of Mount Everest. If there was anything like a low moment it was looking at another very long, very steep hill when you’re legs are already tired, but the elation of having got to the top and finishing the day more than made up for it.

“The organisers call it the ‘RAB bubble’ because all you think about all week is the event and everyone in it. There is a tremendous camaraderie among riders and crew, and a very positive atmosphere. You meet, and ride with, different people each day, and there’s a lot of chat.

“The finish in John O’Groats was very emotional, such a relief, and made all the more satisfying by the ongoing supportive messages from family and friends, many of whom tracked my progress on an app throughout the ride. And of course raising over £2,100 so far for QVH Charity made it all worthwhile. And if there was ever any dip in motivation during the ride I just reminded myself of all the people who had donated. There was no way I could let any of them down.”

Funds raised by Mike’s cycling super-challenge will help QVH Charity support the hospital’s facial palsy team to develop an app to help improve the rehabilitation of patients by tracking facial muscles in real-time.

The Tarana restaurant in Lingfield has helped Mike with his fundraising, including hosting a curry and quiz night and sponsoring a cycling jersey.

If you’d like to sponsor Mike’s challenge please visit http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/michael-gwynn2.

Pictured: super supporter Mike’s Ride Across Britain for QVH Charity.

For more information please contact the QVH Press Office on 01342 414508.