A North Tyneside outdoor adventure enthusiast is taking to the hills and trails to raise money for a friend who has a rare blood cancer.
Ben Pettifer, 31, from Whitley Bay is in the saddle to take part in the gruelling Coast to Coast Mountain Bike challenge for the Help Buy Time for Dave charitable initiative. The appeal is helping 46-year-old father of two Dave Jameson and his family to fund specialist cancer treatment and medicine which is aiming to prolong his life.
Ben is tackling the solo 160 mile coast to coast ride on 25 September 2019, with the challenge involving over 5,000 metres of elevation, carrying 15 kilogrammes of his own gear.
Setting off on the West Coast at Whitehaven, he aims to dismount in Tynemouth two days later subject to weather conditions. He will set up and ‘wild camp’ each evening on the route, carrying all his cooking and camping equipment, food and water for 3 days. His family will monitor his progress via a GPS tracker.
“Dave is a family friend who’s been diagnosed with a highly complex form of cancer called multiple myeloma,” explains Ben. “What many of us in the local community and beyond are trying to do is raise funds to pay for the cancer drug Revlimid, which has the potential to help Dave live longer after his initial chemotherapy and stem cell transplant through the NHS.
“I desperately wanted to help Dave and the family, so I’m getting on the bike and trying to push my limits and achieve something I’ve never done before. On a mountain bike the distance is all the more challenging in the time we’re setting, but a necessity as the route is 90% off road. My training has started in earnest and I’m looking forward to the ride.”
Earlier this year, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended Revlimid treatment via the NHS, but only for certain groups of patients who are not eligible for a stem cell transplant.
Dave’s wife Janine explains: “If we can help extend Dave’s life by a few more years by funding his Revlimid treatment after his stem cell transplant, the NHS may by that time be looking at wider patient groups who can benefit from it. We’re so grateful to Ben for taking up the challenge and to everyone who is supporting the funding appeal. We want to keep every avenue open to help Dave and we’re calling for support to have the drug accessible for all multiple myeloma patients.”
For further information or to get involved and donate to Ben’s challenge, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/mtb-coast-to-coast-for-dave You can also follow his training and progress at https://www.facebook.com/C2CMTBfordave/