Ballymena man takes on 900km challenge for Friends of Cancer Centre

Shauna Loughran

Reporter:

Shauna Loughran

Wednesday 29 June 2022 9:27

Ballymena’s Clive Byham is taking on the challenge of cycling 900km around Northern Ireland, to raise money and awareness for local charity Friends of the Cancer Centre.

Clive and his father, Michael, will be cycling for eight days from 23rd - 30th June, around the entire coastline and border of Northern Ireland.

Clive has very personal motivation for the challenge, following his own cancer diagnosis last year.

The 900km he will cover in his challenge also has very special significance for Clive, as each kilometre represents a bed at Belfast City Hospital, where he received his treatment.

Clive will set off from the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital on Thursday 23rd June. He will then travel along the north coast through Cushendall and Limavady, moving west towards Derry/Londonderry and Strabane, before making his way through Fermanagh towards Newry and Newcastle, before embarking on the home stretch back towards the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.

Explaining the motivation behind his challenge, Clive says: “In January 2021, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), a cancer of the white blood cells.

“Acute leukaemia means it progresses quickly and aggressively and requires immediate treatment. Around 70 people are diagnosed with AML in Northern Ireland each year.

“I am grateful to have received wonderful nursing and medical care at Belfast City Hospital and my cancer is in remission. I have been one of the very lucky ones and while I still can, I would like to give a little something back to everyone who continues to give support and invaluable help to others.

“I would also like to offer hope and encouragement to people like me who have received a cancer diagnosis.

“I chose to cycle 900km as for me, each kilometre represents a bed in Belfast City Hospital. As well as raising money, I hope to bring an awareness to as many as possible prior to my journey.

“My father is travelling over from Spain to join me in my challenge and we started off with a fundraising target of £900. At the moment we have raised over £2,500 thanks to the generosity of the local community.

“I am truly amazed by people’s generosity and kindness and I hope people will give us a shout and a wave as we pass through their local town. We will also be recording our challenge and putting it online, so people can follow our progress.”

For 37 years, Friends of the Cancer Centre has been dedicated to making a real and meaningful difference to cancer patients and their families across Northern Ireland. The charity works to enhance the quality of patient care and support through its life-changing and life-saving work which includes funding additional nurses, supporting local research and providing practical support, such as financial grants, which can help patients through a difficult time. Friends of the Cancer Centre relies on the generosity of the local community and all money donated stays in Northern Ireland, directly benefitting patients and their families.

Community Fundraising Officer for Friends of the Cancer Centre, Sarah Wilson, said: “We are always amazed and humbled by the ways in which people support the charity and the incredible challenges people undertake to show their support for others impacted by cancer.

“Clive is a perfect example of this and we are so grateful to him for raising money to support the charity’s work. The money raised will make a real difference to our work which supports patients and families across Northern Ireland.”

If you would like to support Clive in his challenge, you can donate at www.justgiving.com/

fundraising/clive-byham. Or, if you are interested in taking part in your own challenge or holding an event for Friends of the Cancer Centre, please contact the charity on 028 9069 9393 or visit www.friendsofthecancer

centre.com

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