23-year-old medical student Faheez Shafeek from Bournville, Birmingham, is preparing to cycle 300 miles from London to Paris to raise funds for Cure Leukaemia in support of his father Dr Salim Shafeek.
Dr Shafeek, who is the Clinical Director of Haematology and Oncology at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, was recently diagnosed with myeloma, a form of blood cancer, and is receiving treatment at the Centre for Clinical Haematology at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, a centre supported by Cure Leukaemia.
Patients and staff at Worcestershire Royal have already rallied around their colleague raising over £12,000 from a recent walk in the Malvern Hills and now Dr Shafeek’s son will make his contribution by taking on Cure Leukaemia’s closed-road ride from 12-15 September, which happens to be Blood Cancer Awareness Month.
Faheez studies at King’s College Hospital in London which will receive funding from Cure Leukaemia for a specialist research nurse as a member of the Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) network from January 2020. Faheez seemed destined for a medical career from a young age. He said:
“Medicine runs in the family with my father and grandfather both spending most of their lives treating blood cancer patients however I never expected that this disease would directly affect my father and his diagnosis came as a great shock to the family. When I heard it felt like my life was turned upside down.
“Thankfully, my dad has responded well to treatment and when I heard about the opportunity to cycle from London to Paris for Cure Leukaemia I was only too happy to do my bit to help.”
Video courtesy of BBC Midlands Today
Dr Shafeek has worked at Worcestershire Royal Hospital for 17 years and was the first consultant that former England footballer and Cure Leukaemia Patron Geoff Thomas saw when he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 2003. Geoff said:
“I might not be here today if it was not for Dr Shafeek who quickly recognised the severity of my illness and referred me to Professor Charlie Craddock CBE in Birmingham. He has helped so many patients over the years and I am sure every single one of them would want to wish him all the very best in his treatment and hopefully a full and swift recovery.
“I am so pleased that Faheez is signed up for London to Paris, I am sure he will be fine as he looks like a very competent cyclist who has age on his side! I am really looking forward to riding alongside him into Paris in Blood Cancer Awareness Month.”
“I have always had an interest in cycling and I am an enormous fan of the sport. I would say that I am a competent cyclist but unfortunately I don’t have the chance to ride too much in London as my bike keeps getting stolen so I am really excited to take part in this event.”
Dr Shafeek, who is receiving treatment from from Dr Mark Cook and Cure Leukaemia Trustee Professor Guy Pratt at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, is now in complete remission after a stem cell transplant and intends to return to work in September. He said:
“I am very proud that my son will be taking part in this fantastic event alongside my good friend Geoff Thomas and many others committed to raising funds to combat this disease. I know that all funds raised will go towards ensuring more and more patients continue to be connected with treatments for blood cancer that are currently not available to them.
“It is fitting that this event takes place and I will return to work in Blood Cancer Awareness Month and I hope people will get behind Faheez and help him raise as many funds as possible for this great charity.”
Faheez will begin his 300 mile ride alongside Geoff when the team sets off from Greenwich Park in the morning on Thursday 12th September.
He continued: “I am excited to take part but I know the importance of every penny raised for this charity so I hope people will support my fundraising all the way to Paris. I am sure it will be very emotional riding into Paris on the 15th September and my dad will certainly be at the front of my mind at that special time.”
How funds raised for Cure Leukaemia help save lives