A Birmingham dad who is recovering from life-saving cancer treatment is taking on a tough 100-mile cycling challenge to raise funds to support the city’s world class blood cancer centre.
Paul Skipp, a 53-year-old PR agency director, is supporting the £3.2 million expansion of the Centre for Clinical Haematology (CCH) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which is leading the global fight against all forms of blood cancer including leukaemia and multiple myeloma.
Blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia has made a commitment to raising an additional £1 million in 2017 to ensure the expansion of the centre is fully funded.
The project, driven by Cure Leukaemia co-founder Professor Charlie Craddock CBE, is due to get underway in April. The centre is expected to re-open to treat patients in December.
Sutton Coldfield father-of-three Paul was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in March 2015. Twenty-four rounds of chemotherapy at Good Hope Hospital followed, during which he continued to work full-time at Barques PR in Birmingham.
In March 2016 he underwent a stem cell transplant at Heartlands Hospital, and was back at work two months later.
He said: “The support I've had from my wife Louise and from everyone at the NHS through the 24 rounds of chemotherapy and stem cell transplant has been nothing short of amazing. I'll be eternally grateful to the teams at Good Hope and Heartlands for everything they've done to get me on the road to recovery.
“I've been lucky - the treatment has gone as well as it possibly could and I'm fighting fit. The future looks bright and new treatments are being developed all the time. So, if it does return, I'll be able to receive treatments that are currently being developed through trials and research here in the UK and overseas.”
He added: “It is amazing to think that we have such a world class blood cancer centre right here in Birmingham, and this £3.2m expansion project is going to benefit so many more blood cancer patients like myself in the years to come.
“That is why I've committed to completing the 100-mile Velo Birmingham cycling challenge in September in the Cure Leukaemia team as one of the few things I can do to show my appreciation for the amazing care I've had, and raise a few bob too.
“I'll be honest - the prospect of a 100-mile ride through the hills and valleys of the Midlands doesn't fill me with glee. I’m under no illusions - it's going to be tough but if it helps fund the expansion of this fantastic facility it will be worth all the effort.
“Any money I raise will go towards the charity’s £1m Centre Appeal to fully fund the expanded Centre which will lead the fight to find new treatments, maybe even cures, for these terrible cancers and save lives in the process. So, please donate a fiver and help save lives, or even join me on the ride in the Cure Leukaemia team.” To donate, click HERE.
The inaugural 100-mile, closed road cycling sportive Velo Birmingham, which takes place on Sunday 24th September 2017, may have sold out of general entries but Cure Leukaemia still has places available.
Cure Leukaemia is set to have an 800–strong team for the event which takes place in blood cancer awareness month and you can still join their team for just £40 today.
There are a number of famous faces already signed up for the charity including former England, Crystal Palace and Wolves footballer Geoff Thomas, his former teammates Mark Bright and John Salako and current England U-21 manager Aidy Boothroyd. Even current West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster will ride as long as the fixture lists don’t prevent his participation.
Cure Leukaemia co-founder Professor Charlie Craddock CBE, who is also riding Velo Birmingham, said: “I am very excited to be riding the inaugural Velo Birmingham later this year and everyone cycling for Cure Leukaemia is raising funds for a truly transformational project.
Not only will the expanded Centre immediately increase the number of lives saved but also hasten global progress towards establishing effective treatments for all blood cancers within 25 years.”
We still have limited places available so anyone interested is encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Each rider will receive Cure Leukaemia’s bespoke cycling jersey and must commit to raising a minimum of £400. For more information on the event click HERE
How funds raised for Cure Leukaemia help save lives