Mike was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2000 aged 37, as a triathlete and cyclist, his reaction was to take the cancer head on by staying fit no matter what. Within six months of completing treatment he finished the Lanzarote Ironman Triathlon race (2.4 mile swim, 112 bike and a marathon run).
He managed to stay disease free until 2005 when the cancer relapsed but this time it was more extensive with tumours in several areas. He continued to exercise and in fact climbed up the infamous challenge of Alp D’Huez after three cycles of chemotherapy, just to see if he could!
In November 2005, after ten days and nights of continuous chemotherapy sat in his isolation room undergoing a bone marrow transplant at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, he hatched the idea of Cyclists Fighting Cancer.
It’s a common story for people who have faced a major challenge in their lives, he wanted something good to come from his experience. CFC now donates bikes, specially adapted trikes and tandems to children and young people affected by cancer throughout the UK. What better way to encourage kids and teenagers to get active again after what can be years of treatment and hospitalisation? It is especially effective for those children who have permanent conditions such as lost limbs, sense of balance, muscle weakness and co-ordination.
Something as simple as a bike really does change their lives far more than Mike ever anticipated at the start. There are fantastic stories and video clips on the website www.cyclistsfightingcancer.org.uk which illustrate what CFC do far better than can ever be put into words.
Mike knows he has been really lucky throughout his journey with cancer and by far his best experience to date was riding the whole Tour de France route in 2007 with ex England Footballer, Geoff Thomas and a team of 4 other cancer survivors. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done” said Mike after covering 2300 miles in just 19 days on the same schedule as the professionals. The whole thing was recorded and featured in the ITV documentary “The Wheel Heroes”.
The challenge now is to help as many children as possible to benefit from exercise and activity through bike awards from Cyclists Fighting Cancer. Mike has worked with Macmillan Cancer Care and the Department of Health as an adviser on the subject of cancer and exercise.
In 2014 Mike became British Champion in the road race at the Transplant Games in Bolton and went on to represent Great Britain at the World Transplant Games, Argentina 2015 winning a silver in the road race and bronze in the time trial, a result he went on to match at the European Transplant Games, Helsinki, 2016