A RETIRED nurse will be taking on the Tour de France route to raise money for the charity Cure Leukaemia.
The Tour 21 event, which starts next week (June 24), sees 18 amateur cyclists take on the entire route of the Tour de France one week ahead of the professionals.
Jackie Fowler, aged 60 from Bromsgrove is riding in memory of her son, Simon, who died of Aplastic Anaemia at just 3 years old.
Jackie will be riding alongside former England footballer and blood cancer survivor himself, Geoff Thomas MBE, a Cure Leukaemia patron and himself from Redditch.
Jackie has been training with Geoff in the lead up to the event.
She said: “We’ve been out on a few rides together and it’s been brilliant training with him.
“It’s such an honour to be riding alongside such a legendary footballer and athlete.”
Jackie has also been working at the Alexandra Hospital in between training.
“Although I’m retired I do work the occasional shift, I’ve worked at the Alex for over 30 years.”
But she has still been dedicated to her training, and even won the UCI Tour of Cambridgeshire last weekend for her age category.
The route is an astonishing 3,500km (2,200miles), the distance equivalent to cycling from Worcestershire to Moscow.
It also involves an uphill climb equal to three times the height of Mount Everest.
“We have to complete each stage of the professional race in a single day, 21 stages in all including our final ride on the Champs d Elysees in Paris on July 17,” added Jackie.
“Ask anyone in the cycling world about the infamous Alp D’ Huez and they will tell you of an iconic climb of 21 hairpin bends, 14km in length and rising 1,860m into the Alps.
“That is our ride on Stage 12, but only after we have ridden over the Col du Galibier (2,069m) and Col de la Croix de Fer (1,537m) earlier the same day.”
Jackie, who’s also a grandmother, will be one of just two women to take part in the ride, the other being half her age.
But age is no obstacle for Jackie, who said: “At the age of 60 I wanted to do something that would help others and show that age is no boundary when it comes to any challenge that life presents.”
Jackie had raised £15,733 of her £37,500 target. The team of nearly 30 riders has a combined target of £1million for Cure Leukaemia.
“I hope people can see that as a 60-year-old grandmother and retired nurse, for me to take on all 21 stages of the Tour De France is pushing the boundaries of extraordinary to the limits,” said Jackie.
“If anyone reading this has £10 to spare, give that £10 to Cure Leukaemia it will go to saving someone’s life.”
Visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jackietdf to donate.
Visit https://www.jackie-tdf.co.uk to read Jackie’s blog.