A health professional from Shropshire will be marking International Nurses Day by cycling 100 miles for Cure Leukaemia – inspired by many former patients who have been diagnosed with the disease.
Maggie Kennerley, Transformation Midwife for the local maternity system, is part of the ‘Baschurch Rollers’ team for Birmingham Velo & Midlands taking place on May 12th, following on from last year’s London to Paris challenge in which she: ‘discovered how much I really love cycling’.
British Cycling have launched a ‘One in a Million’ campaign aiming to encourage more women to take up the hobby, and Maggie, who will be returning to take on London to Paris for a second time in September, is certainly a great advocate for that initiative.
“I had always been into fitness, running, gym and a bit of mountain biking, but it was usually about doing enough to allow me to eat chocolate and drink wine,” she says.
“Then my husband Rob came back from a snowboarding trip and one of our friends Richard Jacomb had been talking about previously doing L2P.
“Over a few too many beers one night we both agreed to join him, and another friend Richard Gough, and I bought a road bike in July and started training.
“And it was the best thing ever, because I discovered how much I love cycling.
“We ended up with a team of six or seven and, while it was gruelling, and a real challenge, it was a fantastic experience.
“There is such a family feel to all the cyclists for Cure Leukaemia, and real friendships are formed, which are then carried into future events.
“Maybe if people are not sure whether to do an event, you tend to find someone else saying, “I’ll do it if you do”, and all of a sudden you are signed up again!
“Even people from our village have now joined in, and we have our group, named the Baschurch Rollers, taking part not just in Velo but L2P as well.”
It isn’t just the friendships and camaraderie which pushed Maggie and her team on to complete the 500km from London to Paris, particularly when times were tough.
There were many other inspiring stories, and inspiring patients, which drove the cyclists on to ensure they completed the distance.
“The weather on the final day was atrocious with all the heavy rain, and coming into Paris, while a great memory, was also quite a struggle,” adds Maggie.
“But meeting some of the other cyclists who had been treated for the disease was really humbling, and gave a sense of perspective, at the times when we were all wanting to have a little moan.
“I was also thinking a lot about a little girl, the daughter of a colleague, who had been diagnosed with leukaemia at a very young age, only five or six.
“My colleague had sent me a photo of her when she was very poorly, and we would look at that to use as inspiration and to remind us what it was all about.
“On that last day, coming into Paris in the rain, I was very tired, and I kept that vision of her and all the other people who had been diagnosed with leukaemia.
“She is fine now which is brilliant news, and I brought her one of those little models of the Eiffel Tower to bring back – that one was for you, Lola!”
Maggie, who will again be joined by husband Rob for L2P, will be accompanied by 30-year-old son Tom for the Velo, as well as the other members of the Baschurch Rollers!
“It will be nice for Tom to join me for another great challenge, where we can raise as much money as possible for such a fantastic charity,” she added.
“As a midwife and nurse, I have seen a lot of people suffering with leukaemia in hospital – the disease has affected so many people.
“Rob’s parents are 91 and 90, and his Mum’s brother and Dad’s sister both passed away from leukaemia before they were 16.
“In my nursing career, over 30 years spent with the NHS, I have seen the sort of research that has been taking place and the developments and great strides being made by Professor (Charlie) Craddock and his team.
“It is important that what we are doing helps such a worthwhile charity, and one which is doing such fantastic work in Birmingham.
“Velo will be the next step in my training for L2P later in the year, and will be another great day which I am really looking forward to.”
*Click HERE to support Maggie and the Baschurch Rollers and donate to their L2P Just Giving account which includes their participation in Velo.
To sign up for London 2 Paris from 12-15 September go to www.l2prevolution.com
There is still time to sign up for the 42-mile Velo event and also raise funds for Cure Leukaemia. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
How funds raised for Cure Leukaemia help save lives