After being diagnosed with a brain tumour, Laura King decided to raise funds for The National Brain Appeal by organising and taking part in not one, but three events. With an infectiously positive attitude, she tells us how she is taming Terry the Tumour.
In April, I was diagnosed with a Brain Tumour (which I named Terry – what can I say… I have a sense of humour!) and subsequently I have been undergoing treatment at the National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery,Queen Square– a specialist hospital for those with brain tumours, epilepsy, stroke, dementia and many other brain related health problems.
Before my surgery, scheduled for October, I wanted to have an aim and something to keep my mind off of things and get me into peak condition for recovery and rehabilitation, so I set about organising some challenges to raise funds for The National Brain Appeal. First was a 10km run (Taming Terry 10km Run) which was very successful and lead to my husband Paul wanting to do his bit. So a Taming Terry London to Brighton Bike ride was organised for Sunday 30 September.
At the ungodly hour of 6.45am on a chilly but (thankfully) not rainy Sunday morning we, (we being me and my support crew and 16 cyclists made up of family, friends and colleagues) met up at Clapham Common to take on the ride toBrighton. The Lycra-clad Taming Terry Team set off full of excitement, nervous energy and the spirit of fun which has encompassed all of the challenges, while the support crew and I spread ourselves out along the route providing assistance.
The team reached the first checkpoint still full of beans and in good time, refuelling on my mother-in-law’s performance enhancing flapjacks and were off before we could blink – so all stations go. We headed to checkpoint number two at the halfway stage, attempting to arrive before the first cyclists and put out markers. We put up signs just as we glimpsed two teal vests coming over the brow of a hill, a mad dash ensued to avoid being taken down by two speedy Tour De France style Terry Tamers riding on the wind. The two leaders of our team had taken stage one in their stride requesting a cuppa before shooting off again.
Team Terry had got into comfortable paced groupings, and the main peloton quickly arrived just after the leaders had left, still looking fresh they topped up water bottles and set off again. The last couple of cyclists arrived and leisurely departed, putting the support crews mind at ease that all were doing just fine and so off to the next checkpoint at the base of the infamous Ditchling Beacon (a hill which tauntsLondontoBrightoncyclists with its steep, winding, narrow roads).
The support crew arrived at the quaint village of Ditchling passing the many Taming Terry signs ‘Hattie Vail and family are supporting Team Terry’, ‘Go Team Terry’ all strategically placed out by a work friend of mine who lives in the village. Knowing this checkpoint would be the most important stop for the team we pulled out the big guns and a veritable buffet spread was laid on. The leaders arrived and yet again shunned the energy drinks in favour of a Dairylea bap, choccy biccie and another cuppa (what can I say Team Terry are nothing if not very quintessentially British).
Off the leaders went confidently heading to the Beacon. The main peloton reached us 30mins later looking a little more tired and hungry. They rushed the buffet like the opening day of the Selfridges sale and we dished out nutritional goodies in the form of Haribo, bananas, cereal bars and “have you got any more of those flapjacks?” We were quickly left holding a bin liner of wrappers and off they went.
The support crew then split with some of us heading off to follow those who were setting off to tackle the Beacon and the other half waiting for the last group of cyclists. We crept behind the main peloton in support cars as the bulk of the team hit the steep wind-thrashed Beacon. Although the view behind the line of lycra short wearing cyclists was shall we say an enjoyable, you could feel every turn of the wheel the cyclists made, calf muscles straining, wind battering their faces.
We crept past our line of teal vested team members hollering shouts of encouragement and, unbelievably, receiving smiles and thumbs up. We waited at the top of the beacon shouting and cheering as one by one our team reached the top safe and sound with victorious broad grins across their pink faces. Knowing that the end of the ride was near and all that was left was a downward glide and a ride along the seafront we headed to the finish to assemble to cheer the team through the finish line. The finish line in Brighton was populated by family and friends ready to congratulate and cheer the team, and a couple of hours later the entire team had all completed the ride full of pride and with wonderful tales of team solidarity…if not walking a bit like John Wayne.
The cyclists and support crew had worked wonderfully as a team, pushing themselves to the limit while helping and supporting each other along, all with a sense of humour and smiles on their faces. The team have pushed our fundraising target over the £6,000 mark and I have been lucky to be on the receiving end of their generosity, inspiration, support and love and use it in my fight to tame Terry my brain tumour, while every hard earned penny and publicity they have raised will be helping others with neurological health problems.
If you’d like to sponsor Laura, please click here for her JustGiving page or keep up with her on Twitter with #TamingTerry