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A man from Upper Beeding will cycle 60km through the South Downs with no gears in support of St Barnabas House.
Mark Tyler, aged 54, has been inspired to take part in an off-road cycling event – Hit the Downs MTB – after witnessing the specialist care his mother, Angela Tyler, is currently receiving from the hospice.
Angela, aged 79, from Durrington was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in September 2018.
Mark said: “It’s a nasty disease which quickly reduces lung capacity and suffocates the victim overtime. Since Mum was diagnosed, it’s been all hands to the pump to make sure she gets the care and support she needs. My dad has MS so what he can do to help is limited by his condition.”
Angela has recently returned home from a week’s nurse-led respite care at St Barnabas House which Mark said was “like a holiday for mum and also significantly reduced the care workload for the rest of the family.”
He adds: “The nurses at St Barnabas are fantastic, nothing is too much trouble. Mum made full use of the facilities with jacuzzi baths and massage. Her appetite isn’t what it used to be, but she ate more during her stay than she does at home which has given her the energy she needs to fight this horribly debilitating disease.”
Mark will be saddling on up Sunday 12 May 2019 as part of St Barnabas House’s annual cycling event, Hit the Downs MTB, which last year saw 450 riders take part.
However, unlike other fundraisers, Mark has chosen to make the 60km route even more poignant by completing it without any gears!
Mark said: “The steep inclines of the South Downs will in some small way represent the struggle my mum has to just get up from bed to go to the bathroom.
“We have no idea how long Mum has left with us. Every day is precious. She’s a legend.”
Mark has already raised over £1,300 in sponsorship for St Barnabas House, with friends and family members leaving comments such as “Only my favourite cousin would be mad enough to do this ride on a single speed bike!” and “Good luck Mark, your Mum is a lovely lady and has been a good friend to me for a number of years”.
If you have been inspired by Mark’s story, there is still time to register take part in in Hit the Downs on 12 May 2019. Cyclists can choose from a 30km or 60km route. For more information visit www.hitthedowns.org.uk or call the St Barnabas House Events Team on 01903 706354.
Visit Mark’s JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tylers-single-speed-ride