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Preston family’s brain tumour loss inspires fundraising bike ride

Posted on - 29th September, 2016 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Sport

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Cyclist Vanessa Hillsdon-Jones has completed a charity bike ride and is dedicating part of her journey to a Preston schoolgirl who lost her life to a brain tumour.

The family of Katy Holmes, who died in January 2012 at the age of ten, followed the progress of cyclist Vanessa as she dedicated each of the 972 miles to someone who has died from or is living with a brain tumour.

As she tackled her cycle ride through Preston on September 14, Vanessa dedicated a mile to Katy, in an effort to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity.

Vanessa decided to fundraise for the disease after her stepson Jack undertook successful surgery to remove a brain tumour, inspiring her to participate in the nine-day Deloitte Ride across Britain from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

The route taken

The route taken

A mass of support was given to Vanessa, with hundreds contacting her and sending photographs for their loved ones for her to remember on her ride.

Paula Adair, Katy’s mum, said: “When The Brain Tumour Charity shared Vanessa’s Facebook post about what she hoped to do, I immediately contacted her and said how much I would love her to dedicate one of her miles to Katy.

“We have raised money for The Katy Holmes Trust through taking part in the Land’s End to John O’Groats ride so I know how tough it is but it’s an amazing experience.

“What Vanessa has done to unite people affected by brain tumours makes it even more special.”

Katy died just three months after she was diagnosed with a diffuse intrinsic pontine giloma (DIPG), for which there is no effective treatment.

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Her family set up The Katy Holmes Trust and since then have campaigned with The Brain Tumour Charity for greater awareness of the of brain tumours and for more government funding into research.

Vanessa Hillsdon-Jones described her own family’s terrifying experience.

She said: “Jack was blue lighted to John Radcliffe and had a scan which revealed a tumour.

“He had surgery and we were luckily in and out within four days.

“Jack is now 22 and a qualified mechanic who loves working on his cars.

“The feeling of isolation is one of the reasons why I wanted to make this this challenge interactive, inclusive and involve as many people as possible. We are all in this together.”

Vanessa, from Bicester in Oxfordshire, cycled in memory and support of over 500 names, including Katy’s, uniting the UK’s brain tumour community and raising awareness nationwide. She has raised nearly £4,000 so far.

Paula, Katy’s mum, said she continues to try and raise as much awareness as brain tumours as she can.

You can donate to The Katy Holmes Trust on the website katyholmestrust.co.uk

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