A bike ride organised by Julie Harvey, who was diagnosed with an incurable grade-four brain tumour (glioblastoma) in November 2016, has raised more than £7,000 for Brain Tumour Support.
Julie, who regularly attends sessions with our specialist counsellor, said: “I don’t think I could have coped without Brain Tumour Support. Dealing with my diagnosis is draining. I go to see my counsellor, my mask comes off. I can scream and shout and then I am Julie again.” And the support services are not just for patients but are open to loved ones and carers too, so Julie has family members who also receive support.
Over the past eighteen months, Julie has donated around £4,500 to the charity through her 'Champion Fund', and this event will see her total go above £10,000.
She says she decided to organise a bike ride to support the charity because cycling has also helped her cope. “It’s been my freedom,” she said. “I go out on my bike and I am not ill. I am just Julie.”
The bike ride, which started from Thornbury Sailing Club on Saturday 26 May, saw more than 140 cyclists taking part in three challenging routes: 33km, 65km and 85km.
“This would not have been possible without the amazing support of our army of volunteers and the support of Thornbury Sailing Club,” said Julie. “We had volunteers all along the route directing cyclists and two food stops with lots of lovely homemade cakes and flapjacks. We would particularly like to thank Adrian Maddisson, the commodore of the sailing club, for suggesting and supporting this event as well as all the members who are giving a lot of time to make it happen.”
Tina Mitchell Skinner who founded the Thornbury-based charity 15 years ago when her husband died from a brain tumour said: “It costs £600,000 per year to run our support services. We currently give direct support to more than 2,200 people affected by a brain tumour diagnosis and we would like to support more. We wouldn’t be here without our fundraisers and are grateful to everyone who supported Julie’s bike ride.”
Listen to Julie talking to BBC Radio Bristol about living with her diagnosis and the help she has received from Brain Tumour Support.