Ten years after going into remission from leukaemia, former England, Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers footballer Geoff Thomas will revisit the challenge of cycling all twenty-one stages of the Tour de France; this time, just one day ahead of Le Tour 2015.
Along with a group of only twenty participants, Geoff will complete one of the toughest physical challenges around and raise £1 million for Cure Leukaemia.
In 2003 Geoff was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia and was given less than three months to live. Following treatment from Cure Leukaemia Co-founder Professor Charlie Craddock, including a bone marrow transplant from his sister, Geoff has been in remission since January 2005.
Six months after his treatment, inspired by cancer survivor and pro-cyclist Lance Armstrong, Geoff Thomas set himself the challenge of cycling the Tour de France 2005 route two days ahead of the race. Geoff succeeded in his 2005 challenge and wrote ‘Riding Through The Storm’ to chart his physical and emotional journey.
Commenting on the challenge, Geoff Thomas said “Cycling the Tour de France route in 2005 was my way of saying thank you to all those people who had supported me through my diagnosis and recovery.
“It was an incredibly tough challenge and an experience that will stay with me forever.
“At that time I had no idea what I would be doing ten years on, but being in such good health and having returned as Patron of Cure Leukaemia I want to get more involved and help to raise awareness and funds that I know will make a direct impact on the treatment of people who are in the same position as I was a decade ago.
“Revisiting the Tour de France just one day ahead of the professional peloton will be incredibly taxing both physically and emotionally but I’m hoping that my efforts will inspire the public to get behind us and donate to Cure Leukaemia and help us save more lives.”
Geoff, and the footballing community, have a strong connection to Cure Leukaemia. The charity is credited with saving Geoff’s life and, more recently, the life of former Aston Villa Captain Stiliyan Petrov. Based at the Centre for Clinical Haematology in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Professor Charlie Craddock has stated that cures for all blood cancers can be found in Birmingham within the next 30 years and Geoff is determined raise funds to hasten this progress.
£1 million raised would be worth £10 million in potentially life-saving drug treatments for the 30,000 leukaemia patients diagnosed in the UK every year and a select group of twenty riders will join Geoff in raising the £1 million, through the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience life as a pro-cyclist, with full rolling road closures and support crew and vehicles.
To generate support and provide an opportunity for the public to engage and challenge themselves to fundraise for Cure Leukaemia, Geoff will also be leading a four-day, 500 kilometre cycling challenge: London 2 Paris: Inspiring the Revolution. Both events will be delivered by EDGE, the company Geoff recently set up with cycling events production expert, Dan Solley.
Entries for both events are now open and a number of Geoff’s friends and supporters from the sports community are already committed to participate.
To find out more about Geoff’s Tour de France one day ahead challenge visit: www.beforethetour.com
To enter London 2 Paris: Inspiring the Revolution, visit: www.L2Prevolution.com
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