A BRAVE Kenilworth dad is taking on a 100-mile cycle challenge just days before starting lifesaving treatment for Leukaemia.
Father-of-two Mark Nicholas is saddling up with 16 year-old son Finn to take part in Vélo Birmingham and raise money for charity Cure Leukaemia.
Just 15 days later he will undergo a potentially life-changing stem-cell transplant.
Mark, 46, who works as a freelance IT consultant, raised eyebrows when he greeted the news of his diagnosis by signing up for Vélo Birmingham with Finn, a student at Princethorpe College in Rugby.
He explains: “Rather than sit down and do nothing, I set myself a positive goal, to raise money for the quite brilliant Cure Leukaemia. I’ll probably be needing them quite a lot for the rest of my life!”
Mark was initially put on blood cancer medication, but it wasn’t as effective as doctors hoped, and he was told he urgently needed a stem cell transplant – which meant finding a suitable donor.
Eventually, a match was found in Germany and Mark will undergo his operation this October, overseen by consultant Professor Charlie Craddock, who is also one of the co-founders of Cure Leukaemia.
Mark and Finn will be joined at Vélo Birmingham by friends Ian Hancock, Stuart Insall, Alan Jones and Mark Woodland, as well as Cure Leukaemia’s 800-strong charity team.
The closed-road sportif begins and ends in Birmingham city centre, but will take riders through picturesque Worcestershire and Staffordshire countryside along the way.
“It’s shaping up to be a superb event – I’m really looking forward to it,” added Mark.
“I’m really proud that Finn is joining me and raising as much money as possible for Cure Leukaemia.”
All money raised by Mark, Finn and friends, will help Cure Leukaemia support the £3.2million expansion of the Centre for Clinical Haematology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
The charity has committed to raising an additional £1m in 2017 to ensure the expansion of the centre is fully funded.
Building work on the project, driven by Professor Craddock, is well underway and the centre is expected to re-open to treat patients in December.
James McLaughlin, CEO of Cure Leukaemia, said: “Every penny raised for Cure Leukaemia at Vélo Birmingham will directly help patients in a similar position to Mark by doubling the capacity of the world-renowned centre.”
James and Professor Craddock will be showing their supporting by getting on their bikes for the event too.
Vélo Birmingham takes place on Sunday September 24. Charity places are still available.
Visit justgiving.com/fundraising/finn-and-mark to sponsor Mark and Finn.
Visit cureleukaemia.co.uk to find out more about cycling for Cure Leukaemia.