St Albans cancer survivor’s 450km bike challenge
- Credit: Archant
A ST Albans man who has successfully fought cancer of the blood is pushing himself to the limit, training for a 450-kilometre bike ride from London to Paris to raise funds for further research into the disease.
Lance Gaunt, 39, is taking part in the London|Paris: Be Unstoppable event for charity Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
At the age of 23, in 1997, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) after a run of illnesses including infections and colds had left him feeling tired and weak.
One day he was so tired and ill that he could not move.
At hospital, Lance was shocked when diagnosed with ALL – a disease he associated with children.
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The cancer, which affects a type of white blood cell called lymphoid cells (of the immune system), can be fatal in as little as a few weeks if left untreated as it is more aggressive and progresses quickly.
Lance began intensive chemotherapy treatment immediately but tests showed he needed a stem cell transplant to save his life.
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Fortunately his brother was a match and now Lance, who works in central London as head of digital media technology at The Mill, a visual effects company, is taking on the epic challenge to help celebrate reaching 15 years post-transplant.
He said: “The aim is to raise my fitness levels gradually, so I’m just training as much as I can. As I still have a low immune system I’m cycling 70 miles a week, and hope to raise that to 100 miles a week.”
Lance added: “It feels incredible to reach this stage, and have the opportunity to lead a full life.”
However he admitted to feeling “very nervous” about the event as he had suffered various illnesses during the long winter and had hoped to be further along with his training.
The bike ride starts in Greenwich Park on Thursday, June 6, and will take 200 cyclists to Paris over four days.
As it is an endurance ride, participants will be supported by motorcycle outriders and an entourage of mechanics and physiotherapists.
Several high-profile sports stars will be joining Lance on the challenge, including former footballers Ian Wright, Geoff Thomas – also a leukaemia survivor – John Salako and actor Dean Andrews.
Lance hopes to raise £1,500 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. To help him reach his target, go to justgiving.com/London-to-Paris-2013