Bristol2Beijing: A Huge Thank You From Us All

In 2018, Luke Grenfell-Shaw was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at the age of 24. It was a very rare and aggressive sarcoma and the tumour had spread to Luke’s lungs.

Against the odds, after treatment, Luke began to fulfil his dream of cycling around the world, starting by cycling from Bristol to Beijing on a tandem bicycle to show the world what is possible with a diagnosis of cancer.

In 2020 he set off on the epic challenge and to raise vital money for charity. Two and a half years on, 29 countries travelled, over £127,000 overall raised for charity, Luke (known as Bristol2Beijing on social channels) has completed the 30,000km. The final leg didn’t quite go as planned as having got as far east as he possibly could in India, 3,300km from Beijing, Luke was stopped at the border to China due to Covid restrictions. Adaptable Luke decided to complete his challenge and the last 3,300kms in London and back where it all began, Bristol.

Luke said: “I’ve spent the last 2 and ½ years cycling from Bristol to Beijing and trying to show what is possible living with cancer. I have been in remission for three years now and have scans every few months. There’s always uncertainty and you don’t know what’s coming but touch wood I am here right now and will continue to be.

You have a choice of how you live with cancer, I realised I wanted to do everything I could to help myself, despite being in hospital, having chemo, radiotherapy, and surgery, I wanted to do everything I could to still live my best life no matter the circumstances.”

Pedalling through a pandemic, Luke has traversed virtually every kind of landscape and weather – braving -15°C and +50°C, mountain passes and treacherous roads. With 26,700kms covered, Luke’s spent the last month completing the rest of the miles on a static bike across London, with more than 500 people joining him on his bike. He ended with a celebration party in Bristol.

When asked what advice he would give any young person diagnosed with cancer, Luke said: “Don’t lose hope, don’t think there is nothing you can do, it is a time when everything can feel hopeless. The most important thing is to do something positive, no matter how small. It’s a series of small steps to get you in the right direction.”

See HERE to read more of Luke’s story and donate, thank you.

Young Lives vs Cancer

Young Lives vs Cancer help children and young people (newborn-25 years) and their families to find the strength to face whatever cancer throws at them. At a time when they should be busy being children, enjoying the rollercoaster teenage years or finding their feet at Uni, a cancer diagnosis means life becomes full of fear. Families are torn apart, overwhelming money worries, mental health stretched to breaking point, having nowhere to turn, no one to talk to.

Young Lives vs Cancer are there for them. From the point of diagnosis, throughout treatment and beyond, providing tailored practical, financial and emotional support to the whole family.

Luke has raised an incredible amount of money for ourselves and the other charities through his Bristol 2 Beijing Challenge. The £27,700 raised for Young Lives vs Cancer alone could pay for a room in our Homes from Home, providing free accommodation to families close to the hospital whilst their children receive cancer treatment for 668 nights (almost two years!) or could pay for 1016 hours of support from one of our Care Workers offering vital guidance to families. Our Care Workers enable the issuing of grants and help families to apply for eligible funding to prevent them from spiralling into debt from the crushing costs of cancer which are known to be on average £600 per month. We receive no government funding but instead are powered by the kindness of supporters so are so thankful to Luke and all his team for all he has done.

Thanks to our supporter’s fundraising and donations, we are able to be there for families and ensure no family stands alone. Whilst the Doctors look after their health, Young Lives vs Cancer look after everything else.

Website: www.younglivesvscancer.org.uk

Facebook: @YoungLivesvsCancerSouthWestFundraising

Instagram: younglivesvscancer

Twitter: @YLvsCancer

5k Your Way, Move Against Cancer Initiative, Provided by MOVE Charity. 

Our mission is to support and inspire people to Move Against Cancer because movement matters.

5k Your Way, Move Against Cancer is a community-based initiative to encourage those living with and beyond cancer, their families and friends, and those working in cancer services to walk, jog, run, cheer or volunteer at a local 5K Your Way group at designated parkrun events on the last Saturday of every month.

Each of our 5k Your Way, Move Against Cancer meet ups will have one of our wonderful volunteer ambassadors there to meet and greet you at a designated meeting spot. Our ambassadors are your ‘go to’ for each event and will run/walk with some of you if they can. After the walk/run, the ambassadors will gather you together for socialising over a much needed hot drink and cake.

The initiative was founded in 2018 by oncology consultant and 12 times Ironman champion, Lucy Gossage, and international runner and MOVE Charity founder, Gemma Hillier-Moses, who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 24 in 2012.

We have recently celebrated our 4th anniversary of 5k Your Way and this really wouldn’t have been possible without Luke and the INCREDIBLE funding from the Bristol 2 Beijing Expedition. This enabled us to employ a full time 5k Your Way Operational Manager and survive covid where we had so long without group meet ups. We turned this challenge into an opportunity, and with Luke’s funding, launched our third area of work at MOVE Charity: The Move Your Way Resources, these include: Blogs, Move Your Way sessions and Workshops, Move Against Cancer YouTube Channel, Move Against Cancer Podcast, useful links.

We have also managed to grow post covid and now have a part time 5KYW Operational Officer and have grown to have 68 active 5KYW groups across the UK and Ireland. We are so proud of the difference these groups are making to people’s lives; giving those living with cancer something they can control, giving their support network something they can be part of and creating a community support network for everyone affected by cancer in any way.

Website: www.5kyourway.org

Facebook: 5k your way: move against cancer

Instagram: @5kyourway

Twitter: @cancer5kYourWay

Trekstock

Every day in the UK, 34 people in their 20s or 30s are diagnosed with cancer.

Trekstock want to live in a world where anyone in our community who has heard the words “it’s cancer” are supported in a way that matches their unique needs. We’re the only charity that offers tailored support to this age group and nothing is off limits. Whether it’s getting active, talking about things that no one else is or chatting to others who get it, Trekstock wants to help.

Luke’s legendary Bristol2Beijing expedition has raised not only a shed load of cash for Trekstock and other ace charities, but also loads of awareness around the importance of exercise and proving you can live well with cancer.

Being diagnosed with cancer impacts your mind and body in more ways than we can count. That’s why we’re so proud to offer RENEW, a free 8 week exercise programme for people with cancer during and after treatment. The classes are run by experienced cancer exercise specialists.

That’s why at Trekstock the thousands raised through Luke’s challenge is so important to us. The £27,700 for Trekstock by the Bristol2Beijing Challenge could put 277 people in their 20s or 30s through our transformational 8 week RENEW exercise programme.

The support from individual fundraisers like Luke means so much to us and the people we support. Team Trekstock would like to say a massive THANK YOU to not only Luke and the Bristol2Beijing Team, but everyone who donated, hopped on Chris the trusty tandem and every cheerleader along the route.

Website: www.trekstock.com 

Facebook: Trekstock 

Instagram: @trekstock 

Twitter: @trekstock

YouTube: Trekstock

Teenage Cancer Trust

Teenage Cancer Trust puts young people in the best possible place, physically, mentally, and emotionally, for their cancer treatment and beyond and we’re the only UK charity dedicated to providing this specialised nursing care and support. We fund specialist outreach nurses who work regionally across the country, helping make sure every young person with cancer has access to our expert care, no matter where they are. Teenage Cancer Trust has a specialist unit in almost every major NHS cancer treatment across England, Wales and Scotland, where we fund expert nurses, Youth Support Coordinators and Multidisciplinary Team Coordinators to provide the very best care and support for young people facing cancer.

We’re completely dependent on donations for all of this work, which is why we’re so very grateful to be supported by Luke. The money raised by Luke means that Teenage Cancer Trust specialised nurses, youth workers, and hospital units will be able to be there for more teens and young adults with cancer when they’re needed most, this is where the raised money will be going towards. Find out more and make a donation at www.teenagecancertrust.org

Instagram: @teenage_cancer

Twitter: @TeenageCancer

Facebook: Teenage Cancer Trust

Website: www.teenagecancertrust.org

On behalf of Young Lives vs Cancer, 5k Your Way, Teenage Cancer Trust and Trekstock, thank you to Luke from us all. What an incredible effort and achievement, you have been an inspiration to us all. The awareness and funding raised by Bristol2Beijing will help us all to continue supporting young people with cancer and empower them to get active, and ensure they do not have to face cancer alone. Thank you for creating this incredible expedition and for everything you have done to support us all, every charity is incredibly grateful.

The Bristol2Beijing expedition has brought all four charities and our communities together in such a special way, and we are thankful to Luke for enabling us to do so. In honour of the Bristol2Beijing expedition, we are looking forward to seeing how we continue to work together and support each other beyond the finish line.

To reflect just a snapshot of the ways in which we will work together, we hope to place flyers in Bristol hospitals with a link back to the Bristol2Beijing challenge. MOVE will add the other charities to their useful resources page. We will continue to support each other at events, conferences, online, and much more.

Luke talks us through what the four charities and the fundraising means to him: “I chose these charities for deeply personal reasons. For me, physical activity – whether a run, walk or simply getting out of bed – was the most powerful and important thing that helped me through treatment positively. Doing my best to be active at every opportunity is a huge reason why I’m here today. That’s why I chose to support 5k Your Way and Trekstock – which help other people with cancer get and remain active.

Teenage Cancer Trust and Young Lives gave me much needed support through my treatment. The TYA unit meant that my parents could stay with me in my treatment room and I was incredibly grateful that it also meant there was space for Kyle to cycle in my room! Young Lives helped me navigate the bewildering plethora of paperwork – from financial support to university applications. It made a huge difference at a time when putting on your socks can feel overwhelming!”

Young Lives vs Cancer, 5k Your Way, Teenage Cancer Trust and Trekstock are extremely grateful for the final fundraising total of £111,000 raised for us all by Luke and the Bristol2Beijing Team. Thank you to Jenny, Jeremy, Tom, the entire Bristol2Beijing Team, the 826 people who joined on Chris the tandem (including 28 CanLivers), each and every donor, everyone who cheered Luke on along the way, and lastly (but certainly not least) Luke. We can’t wait to see what the next big adventure Luke has in store. He gives us some insight here:

“I’m not sure I’ll ever return to “normal” life, but I’m currently back in the UK. I’m super excited to be writing a book and making a documentary of my cancer journey and ride across the world. I’ve still got the travel bug and want to ride to Beijing, so watch this space!”

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