A local man from Ballymena, Clive Byham, has taken on the challenge of cycling 900km around Northern Ireland, to raise money and awareness for Friends of the Cancer Centre.
Clive and his father, Michael, cycled for eight days from 23rd – 30th June, around the entire coastline and border of Northern Ireland. Clive has very personal motivation for the challenge, following his own cancer diagnosis last year.
The 900km he covered in his challenge also has very special significance for Clive, as each kilometre represents a bed at Belfast City Hospital, where he received his treatment.
Clive set off from the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital on Thursday 23rd June. He then travelled along the north coast through Cushendall and Limavady, moving west towards Derry/Londonderry and Strabane, before making his way through Fermanagh towards Newry and Newcastle, before embarking on the home stretch back towards the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.
Explaining the motivation behind his challenge, Clive says:
“In January 2021, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), a cancer of the white blood cells. Acute leukaemia means it progresses quickly and aggressively and requires immediate treatment. Around 70 people are diagnosed with AML in Northern Ireland each year.
“I am grateful to have received wonderful nursing and medical care at Belfast City Hospital and my cancer is in remission. I have been one of the very lucky ones and while I still can, I would like to give a little something back to everyone who continues to give support and invaluable help to others. I would also like to offer hope and encouragement to people like me who have received a cancer diagnosis.
“I chose to cycle 900km as for me, each kilometre represents a bed in Belfast City Hospital. As well as raising money, I hoped to bring an awareness to as many as possible prior to my journey. My father travelled from Spain to join me in my challenge and we started off with a fundraising target of £900. At the moment we have raised over £5,000 thanks to the generosity of the local community. I am so grateful to everyone who supported us throughout our cycle challenge and kept our spirits up.”
Community Fundraising Officer for Friends of the Cancer Centre, Sarah Wilson, said:
“We are always amazed and humbled by the ways in which people support the charity and the incredible challenges people undertake to show their support for others impacted by cancer.
“Clive is a perfect example of this and we are so grateful to him for raising money to support the charity’s work. The money raised will make a real difference to our work which supports patients and families across Northern Ireland.”
If you are interested in taking part in your own challenge or holding an event for Friends of the Cancer Centre, please contact our fundraising team on 028 9069 9393.