Addie Brady charity LEJOG cyclist JP de Villiers suffers broken legs and arm in hit and run
A cyclist who was riding over 1,000 miles from John o' Groats to Land's End in memory of tragic Herts and Essex High School girl Addie Brady is in intensive care after being badly injured in a hit and run.
Jean-Pierre 'JP' de Villiers – a close friend of the Brady family, who live in Avenue Road, Stortford – suffered broken legs, a broken arm and internal injuries in the crash.
The 37-year-old South African entrepreneur was eight days and more than 800 miles into the epic journey from Scotland to Cornwall when the collision happened in Devon on Wednesday May 22.
The traditional route for the iconic ride, which covers the length of Great Britain, is from south-west to north-east, with the wind following, but JP wanted an extra challenge.
With just the final day in the saddle ahead, he was struck by a car on the A399 between Ilfracombe and Combe Martin. He was flown to Derriford Hospital by air ambulance and has undergone two operations on his injuries.
A 69-year-old man from Ilfracombe has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, taking a vehicle without consent, driving while disqualified and driving while unfit.
Addie's mum Michelle and dad Tara are good friends with JP, a high-performance coach and international motivational speaker who has lived in this country since he was 21.
Michelle said on Tuesday (May 28): "JP remains in intensive care. His injuries are a right broken arm and lacerations, right femur open break and his left tibia and fibula are broken."
He also suffered internal injuries, and since his surgeries he has developed a chest infection and heart irregularities.
JP supported the family when Addie was first diagnosed with a brain tumour. She died in February 2018, aged just 16. He took part in a charity boxing match for Addie in November 2017, raising money and awareness for the Brain Tumour Charity.
"He continues to support us as we develop the Addie Brady Foundation and raise awareness of this dreadful disease," said Michelle.
"From what I know of JP, he will come back with determination and drive, and turn this horror into something positive. He has a lot of people rooting for him."
Addie was a nine-year-old pupil at Stortford's All Saints Primary School when she was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in 2011. After surgery and several months of chemotherapy, she recovered. But in 2016 she was rushed into hospital following a seizure – and tests revealed an inoperable brain tumour.
Her parents and elder sister Skylar were shocked to discover it was a primary cancer unrelated to the first diagnosis. Genetic testing revealed Addie had Li-Fraumeni Syndrome (LFS), usually an inherited familial predisposition to the disease.
The family have set up the Addie Brady Foundation to raise money to back research in both fields and JP took on the bike ride to raise £10,000 for this cause.
From his hospital bed, he urged his cycling partner, Callum O'Brien, who undertook the ride in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and in memory of his mum who died last year, to cross the finish line.
To support JP's fundraising visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cyclingforaddie. Some 185 supporters have so far donated more than £7,750.