THE Tour 21 team aiming to raise £1million for the charity Cure Leukaemia has received a message of support from England manager Gareth Southgate – here.
The team of 18 amateur cyclists are into their final week of cycling the full 21 stages of the 2021 Tour de France route, one week ahead of the professionals.
Led by ex-England footballer and blood cancer survivor Geoff Thomas from Stock Green – who has been joined by Mike Hopkins of Feckenham – the riders are covering all of the famous route including a double ascent of the infamous Mont Ventoux on stage 11.
The Tour 21 aims to raise in excess of £1,000,000 for national blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia and the team has raised more than £900,000 towards that target.
Cure Leukaemia recorded a £1,700,000 fundraising shortfall in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and The Tour 21 team aims to help the charity address this shortfall in funding by completing all 3,384km of the world’s most famous professional cycling event.
All funds raised by The Tour 21 team will be invested in the national Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) which has been solely funded by Cure Leukaemia since January 2020. TAP is a network of specialist research nurses at 12 blood cancer centres located in the UK’s biggest cities and a facilitatory hub based at the Centre for Clinical Haematology in Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
This network enables accelerated setup and delivery of potentially life-saving blood cancer clinical trials, giving people access to treatments not currently available through standard care.
On July 4, 2003, Geoff was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia and given just three months to live.
Thanks to treatment from Cure Leukaemia co-founder Professor Charlie Craddock CBE and a transplant from his sister Kay, Geoff went into remission in early 2005.
Just months later, he rode his first of his Tour de France challenges and now, 18 years later, is nearing the completion of his fifth and final ride.
Geoff, who like Mike was awarded an MBE just days before setting off for France said: “July 4 is always a special day for me as it reminds me how lucky I am to be alive.
“On that day 18 years ago, I was informed I might have just a few months to live but here I am, cycling the Tour de France thanks to charities like Cure Leukaemia.
“That is why it is so important we keep driving our fundraising forward.
“It is great to reach £900,000 but we really want to have surpassed £1,000,000 before we roll into Paris on Sunday July 11 because it will give hope to blood cancer patients all across the UK.”
Geoff was also a teammate of Gareth Southgate’s when they played for Crystal Palace.
As well as donations to the team’s JustGiving page, those wishing to support The Tour 21 can purchase tickets for The Ultimate Cycling Prize Draw for a chance to win 21 fantastic prizes including a Pinarello Dogma F12 worth £15,000.
Registration for The Tour 21 in 2022 and 2023 is available via www.thetour21.com.