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A charity bike ride and a mini-festival for my dad

When Stuart's dad was diagnosed with IPF, he organised a charity bike ride. But things soon snowballed... 

This is us looking fresh after we finished our huge challenge, I'm second from the right

When my dad was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), I had never heard of it.

Then I researched the condition, and my world felt like it was falling apart. 

I felt like I needed to do something

IPF is a is a condition that causes progressive scarring of the lungs and the outlook is often bleak.

I felt like needed to do something, but didn’t know what. Then, after a chat with my fiancée Gemma, we came up with the idea of raising money and awareness of IPF with a charity bike ride.

In the end, we agreed on 150 miles in a day - no mean feat! 

But then, we decided that Gemma would run an all-day charity café with tea, cakes and bacon rolls.

As the idea developed, it got bigger. There’d be welly wanging, a bouncy castle for children and a raffle. Before I knew it, we had 4 live bands and singers booked to play at what was now a mini-festival. I even had my legs waxed in order to raise more money!

Before I knew it, we had 4 live bands and singers booked to play.

The big day

Stuart's charity bike ride was a big successThen, the day of the big ride finally came. 7 of us were going to take part, and after a few last minute checks, tweaks, and a final application of chamois cream and suntan lotion, we were off!

The first of the 3 legs was 66 miles, which we did in just under four hours (with a quick stop by the sea for ice cream!).  We decided it was madness to continue at that pace,  so we slowed things after that. 

The second leg was slightly shorter but equally smooth. Everyone was in good humour, but at the 80-mile mark, conversation all but stopped. The wind had picked up and we were badly in need of some sugary tea and cake. 

Meanwhile, the event was thriving. Our cycle route took us past it and we even got to see some of the bands playing! It looked like so much fun that I wanted to stop riding and join in.

But there was still further to go.

Having ridden further than any of us had ever done before, we pushed back on for the final, and shortest, of the 3 legs. 

Crossing the finish line 

Finally, after 9 and 3/4 hours, we returned as a group to the cheers of our supporters. A cold tin of cider was thrust on each of us, while we laughed about what we had just accomplished!

The feeling of achievement was, and still is, unbelievable. 

It was only when I was soaking in the bath that I thought about the motto I had lived by in the months leading up to the event. 

I put myself through just one day of suffering, but people with IPF suffer every day.

I put myself through just one day of suffering, but people with IPF suffer every day.

I'm so grateful 

I am so grateful to everybody that was involved. From those who helped organise and facilitate the event, the participants, the supporters, the British Lung Foundation fundraising team and the people that so generously donated raffle prizes and sponsorship.

Hopefully now with the money we have raised, research can continue to be carried out into the causes and cures for IPF.

Thought about taking part in a charity challenge? Find out how you can get involved and raise funds for people living with lung disease.

Find a charity challenge 

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8 January 2018