ROB Oliver is under no illusion about the challenge ahead.
Weighing in at 19 and a half stone, he’s cycling 102 miles over three of the toughest climbs in the Cotswolds this Sunday to raise money for a close friend’s cancer treatment.
“I know I’m a size and I know all about the effects of gravity but if I’m on my hands and knees I will get over those hills,” said the 45-year-old IT worker from Wirehill in Redditch.
Rob is riding the Mad Summer Hare sportive to raise money to treat John Johnson, formerly of UB40 and Simply Red, to name just a few bands.
John, who also played with Musical Youth, developed an aggressive form of gall bladder cancer in 2015, and although it was successfully removed, this year the tumour returned.
Unfortunately, the NHS don’t currently offer the treatment that could be successful with the prognosis, hence the need to raise money to send him overseas for cancer care.
“The music community in the Midlands is a tight knit group and everyone knows each other,” said Rob, who himself plays guitar in a band.
And it’s not the first time he’s done something like this, tackling the Three Peaks Challenge with work colleagues from Agorra on Moons Moat for the Karen Foort Foundation.
Redditch woman Karen was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer in 2012 and her dream was to see her youngest son start secondary school.
Thanks to a world of good will and fund raising which saw her receive cancer treatment in Germany she was able to see that dream fulfilled before she died last year.
“The treatment bought her another four years, and that’s priceless – it’s one of those things where the whole community pulls together for something good,” said Rob.
Rob’s been inspired in his cycling journey by his boss Matt Wheeler of 365 Velo Racing Club, and next year they aim to do Land’s End to John O’Groats for Acorns Childrens Hospice, the British Heart Foundation and Parkinsons UK.
He’s also lucky enough to have a supportive wife and son who’ll be cheering him on.
“They’re brilliant – my wife thinks I’m a bit of a nutter but she understands I need something like this to go at,” said Rob.
Until then there’s the small matter of Dovers Hill, Saintbury Hill and Snowshill and 6,000ft of climbing on Sunday.
To support Rob’s efforts, visit his Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/robert-oliver