College rides for Maggie’s Wirral

Birkenhead Sixth Form College has been supporting Maggie’s since 2018. To date the college has raised over £11,000 for Maggie’s, helping thousands of people living with cancer and their friends and families.

This year staff and students will be taking on the incredible challenge of virtually cycling the distance between all 26 Maggie’s Centres in the UK.

Alan Redfern, Head of Fine Art, will be completing the entire challenge over 11 days on the ZWIFT platform before and after work. The total distance of the challenge is 1325 miles, cycling approx. 6 – 8hours each day.

Students and other members of staff will be aiming to ride the same distance over five days using three indoor bikes, with an extra incentive to keep up and even catch Alan.

Alan will be starting the ‘Combat cancer cycle challenge for Maggie’s Cancer charity’ on Tuesday, 14 May, and the students and staff will be starting on Monday, 20 May.

Alan, from Maghull, has worked at Birkenhead Sixth Form College for 15 years, he started supporting Maggie’s in 2018 when he completed a coast-to-coast challenge running 214 miles over four days.

Other members of staff from the college completing the challenge include Nicholas Whittaker from Chester, a Sports Teacher who has worked at the college for two years and Liam Dawson from Liverpool, Head of Graphics who has worked at the college for seven years.

Combined, the trio have helped make this challenge possible, from creating the logo to managing the event in the college for the students.

Alan says, ‘’The reason for doing the challenge is quite easy. So many people I know, family members, friends, staff and students (and their families) have suffered or sadly passed away from cancer.

“My wife’s family have been devastated by cancer and she has lost two uncles and an auntie to various types of cancer. She currently has another uncle who is terminal with cancer.

“One of my best friends growing up lost his mum to cancer when we were in our early teens, seeing him go through that loss when we really didn’t understand what was happening was so difficult; so, cancer has been around my life for as long as I can remember.

“Maggie’s Centre’s didn’t exist then, but I know how people who have used Maggie’s Centres across the country find them invaluable. I don’t think cases of cancer are declining, in fact I believe it’s the opposite, so we need places such as Maggie’s more than ever.’’

Maggie’s Fundraising Manager, Sasha Mathias, delivered a talk to the college when Maggie’s and Birkenhead Sixth Form College started working in partnership. Alan also says, ‘’I remember Sasha coming into the College in 2017/18 and talking eloquently to the staff about the work Maggie’s does and being a father of two amazing little girls, Sasha mentioned “how do you tell your family, your parents or your children you have cancer”.

“That is something that really stuck with me and from that point, I wanted to help Maggie’s.’’

The college wanted the challenge to highlight the work that all Maggie’s Centres provide across the UK as well as it being a difficult challenge which will hopefully encourage people to donate.

Alan says, ‘’Personally, I am really looking forward to the challenge, I know I am going to find it extremely difficult, and I am looking forward to seeing how staff and students come together at the college to do their bit.

“It’s amazing how people pull together in the college, and I am sure we will try to make it as successful as possible.’’

If you would like to support, Alan, Nicholas, Liam, and all the amazing staff and students at Birkenhead Sixth Form College you can visit their online giving page at; https://www.justgiving.com/page/ar-confrontcancercycle-2149km

Kathy Wright, Centre Head at Maggie’s Wirral, said, “We are so grateful to Birkenhead Sixth Form College for all their amazing support to Maggie’s.

“This challenge is incredible, and we would like to wish Alan, his colleagues and all the students the best of luck, and thank you so much for continuing to raise awareness of the much-needed support that we provide and for helping us to be there for those living with and beyond cancer.’’

Maggie’s Wirral is built in the grounds of Clatterbridge Cancer Centre (Wirral) and is a warm and welcoming place acting as a safe haven and providing an alternative to the hospital environment cancer patients and their friends and family see. Maggie’s relies solely on voluntary donations to support the ongoing services and keep their doors open.

Image: GOOGLE

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