Best friend's mum's cancer battle inspires High Wych man Sam Faulkner to cycle 1,000 miles from John o' Groats to Land's End for Isabel Hospice
When Sam Faulkner heard about his best friend's mother suffering from cancer, he decided to get on his bike to help.
Former Leventhorpe School student Sam had taken part in golf fundraisers in the past, but when he heard about Lesley Clark's illness he opted for a more extreme test – cycling the breadth of Britain from John o' Groats to Land's End.
The aim of the 1,000-mile ride is to raise money for Isabel Hospice, which has given Lesley support in her fight against the disease.
It was a shock to 24-year-old Sam, of High Wych, when he heard about her condition as he had always known her to be fit and healthy.
But he said: "Lesley, being the strong and determined woman she is, took it on the chin and is staying very positive while dealing with the long journey ahead of her.
"After a mastectomy and a gruelling nine-hour operation due to complications, she started on her road to recovery."
Unfortunately, Lesley has since been diagnosed with a large tumour in her back and others throughout her body, meaning she is receiving ongoing treatment and medication.
"Lesley refers to this as just a minor setback," said Sam. "Although the medication and treatment are punishing to her body, she stays positive and is a constant inspiration to me and others around her, never complaining or being negative, and always staying upbeat and happy.
"She knows the road ahead of her is long and will have its up and downs, but embraces every moment of it."
Lesley visits Isabel Hospice's Living Well service at St Barnabas Centre in Church Lane, Thorley, where she can unwind and relax and find comfort in complementary treatments. She calls it her "little bit of respite" and that inspired Sam to raise money for "this fantastic place".
To complete the 100-plus-mile-a-day bike ride, landscape gardener Sam realised there needed to be some changes in his life, principally losing weight. Since deciding in April to take on the challenge, he has lost 5st and is getting himself in prime condition.
There followed reformer Pilates sessions and "manual body mobilisation" for his joints, ligaments and muscles, as he takes to the road in readiness for the big bike-off on May 1. And he has even enlisted mum Liz to drive the support vehicle.
If you wish to sponsor Sam, go to his Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/samfaulknerjohnogroatstolandsend. To keep track of his progress check out his Facebook page Sam’s cycling from John O’Groats to Lands End.