When Mr John Dixon Wiper of Dalton in Furness included a gift in his Will to CancerCare, he sparked something remarkable!
5,000 mile bike ride for CancerCare
A Morecambe cyclist is planning an epic 5,000 mile bike ride to raise money for CancerCare.
Andrew Creer is hoping to raise £1,000 to help the charity’s Children and Young People’s Service which helps young people who are coping with cancer, life limiting illness and bereavement, either themselves or within their families.
Andrew has chosen the young people’s service as the beneficiary for his fundraising challenge after he himself suffered emotional problems following the death his grandfather, to whom he was very close, when he was just a teenager.
His grandfather was his idol and a huge part of his childhood growing up on the Wirral and Andrew spent most of the school holidays at his grandparents’ house, helping his grandfather in his engineering workshop.
Sadly his grandad died due to oesophageal cancer in 1989, when Andrew was 15, and his grandmother also died a mere eight days later.
Their loss saw Andrew begin to experience difficulties at school and he went from being a top pupil to barely passing his GCSE exams.
Andrew said: “I was struggling to cope and withdrew into myself, becoming very insular and depressed. I was bottling things up and this led me to feeling unhappy and isolated. I was not going out too much but when I did I was partying too hard and going down a very self-destructive path.”
After a number of years, he began to turn his life round, securing an engineering apprenticeship, volunteering with the scouts and getting married, however, a severe mountain bike crash left him with a badly damaged knee. Once again, he began dealing with feelings of anger and depression and his inability to ride his beloved bike saw his weight increase to 26 stones.
Andrew’s wife Julie suggested he see a doctor and he was prescribed medication and underwent counselling which found that the unresolved feelings of depression and anger he had following the death of his grandfather were at the root of his feelings.
The counselling helped Andrew to get a grip of his feelings and soon after he moved up to Morecambe with his wife’s job.
This fresh start saw Andrew rekindle his love of cycling and he also joined the Morecambe Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society as a technical assistant where he met CancerCare fundraising officer Anna Webster who told him all about the work of the charity. Shortly after, Andrew undertook a sponsored ride to Bristol raising £600 for CancerCare.
A post ride massage also encouraged him to retrain as a massage therapist.
Sadly, Andrew experienced further bereavement when his Uncle died after being diagnosed with cancer shortly before Christmas so Andrew decided to undertake a new fundraising challenge for CancerCare.
Andrew said: “I thought about how much I struggled when I was a teenager and being able to talk to someone who was going through the same thing would have helped massively. It would have helped me realise I was not just ‘being soft’ and it was acceptable and normal to feel the way I was feeling.”
Part of CancerCare’s young people’s service is the Re-Fresh Peer Support Group which meets weekly and provides a safe, non-judgemental space facilitated by a trained youth worker. The sessions include a variety of activities including listening to music, playing games and being creative with the aim of having fun, building friendships and boosting confidence.
“I was not aware of anything like Re-Fresh being available when I was a kid and the work it does with young people going through bereavement and dealing with serious illness at home is amazing,” said Andrew.
Andrew is planning to support the service by riding a total of 5,000 miles on his bike by the end 2020 - all outdoors with no indoor riding – which equates to nearly 14 miles per day.
You can donate online on Andrew’s JustGiving page