An Exeter woman has cycled 600 miles to raise money for the charity which helped her on the road to recovery following treatment for cancer when she was a teenager.
Roisin Smith, aged 23, completed the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s Largs to Cowes 'Brighter Futures' Cycle Challenge over eight days in June (Fri 17 – Fri 24) pedalling a route between the charity's bases from the west of Scotland to England’s south coast.
Roisin was one of nine riders who signed up for the whole challenge, cycling 75-80 miles a day through Scotland, Cumbria, Yorkshire and Cheshire then on to Ironbridge, Herefordshire and Wiltshire to the finish at Cowes, where the team was welcomed by Dame Ellen MacArthur.
Her incredible achievement has so far raised more than £1,500 for the Trust and counting.
Roisin said: "I'm very proud of what we’ve achieved. People are so generous and so kind and it’s a great feeling knowing you’ve raised this money for the charity that has helped you and helped so many other young people and hopefully will continue to do so.
“The Trust is one of the few charities supporting people after they’ve had cancer. In the moment you have so much support from doctors and nurses and other charities and then there’s this image that once you go into remission you’ll be fine and that’s the end. But actually that’s kind of the beginning of recovery in a lot of ways.”
Currently living in Exeter and working as a graduate intern at not-for-profit energy consultancy Regen, Roisin first sailed with the Trust aged 19, just a few months out of three years of treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma - a trip which gave her a much-needed confidence boost before starting university. She is now looking forward to her third trip this July with the aim of then sailing with the Trust as a volunteer.
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust inspires young people aged 8-24 to believe in a brighter future living through and beyond cancer. For many young people, picking up where they left off before their diagnosis isn’t possible. So, when treatment ends, the Trust’s work begins.
Through the Trust’s sailing and outdoor activities, young people meet others who have had similar experiences, rediscover independence away from home, experience an increased sense of purpose and self-worth, and begin to realise what they are capable of again. Most importantly they stop feeling like the ‘only one’.
The Largs to Cowes challenge took riders on a picturesque but demanding route and has so far raised more than £21,300 for the Trust and its work with young people.
Roisin found the long continuous ascents through her home county of Yorkshire particularly tough - including the renowned Fleet Moss climb in the Dales - but said the camaraderie of the riders provided support for everyone in the team to succeed.
Roisin said: "I tried to do as much training as I could but then life got in the way a little bit so I was hoping that adrenaline would be able to push me through and it turned out we had such an amazing group of people that although it was really really tough, and I did not think I could climb that many hills, there was always someone behind me going ‘you can do it, you can do it'.
"What kept me motivated was knowing you’re doing it for charity and the Trust and thinking about the experience you’ve had with cancer and if you can do that 'surely I can just keep my legs moving for an extra five minutes'. Just how far we all came in a few days as cyclists was really cool."
To support Roisin's Largs to Cowes fundraising and read more about how it will impact young people living through and beyond cancer, visit https://largs-to-cowes.blackbaud-sites.com/ or go to Roisin's JustGiving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Roisin-Smith6