Intrepid fundraisers Harry Martin-Dreyer and Alex Bland have been appointed Patrons of Birmingham-based blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia.
In total, the two friends from Shropshire have raised over £200,000 after rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean for Cure Leukaemia and JDRF the type 1 diabetes charity. Their Rowing 4 Research challenge took 50 days beginning in Gran Canaria and ending in Port St. Charles Barbados.
Their boat, ‘Alexandra’, was named after Harry’s mother who died from leukaemia in March 2013 after being treated by Cure Leukaemia co-founder Professor Charlie Craddock. Alex’s brother, Ross, suffers from Type 1 diabetes hence the support for the two charities that will share the fundraising total. They still hope to raise more and will keep their donation webpage open until June.
The two men, both 27, visited the Centre for Clinical Haematology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital recently to present a cheque to Professor Charlie Craddock and Cure Leukaemia for over £100,000, an amount which will be worth over £1 million in potentially life-saving drug treatments for leukaemia patients around the region.
The former Shrewsbury School pupils also met leukaemia patient Katherine Sinfield who they visited in hospital before setting off on their voyage. Katherine’s leukaemia is now in remission and the former Primary school teacher from Burton-on-Trent was keen to meet them after such an amazing fundraising challenge.
Harry, who proposed to his now fiancée Lucy just minutes after rowing the ring across the Atlantic, said:
“It is a great honor to be asked to be a patron of Cure Leukaemia and something I am very proud of. I look forward to helping such inspirational people in any way I can to pave the research pathway for blood cancer."
“For over a year I have had the privilege of getting to know Cure Leukaemia, the inspiring team behind the charity and some of the many Leukaemia patients that it helps. It gives me enormous pleasure to have become a Patron of an organisation that is so clearly valuable and pioneering in its approach to saving lives. I look forward to doing whatever I can in the future to ensure its continued success.”
Chief Executive of Cure Leukaemia James McLaughlin said:
“We have had some remarkable fundraisers over the years who have pushed themselves to their limits for the charity, but Harry and Alex have put their lives on the line to complete this magnificent achievement. Our Chairman and Trustees had no hesitation in inviting them to become Patrons; they are an inspiration to us all.”
You can still donate to Harry and Alex's amazing cause by clicking HERE