Posted on Monday 13 June 2022

in News

Bristol 2 Beijing’s 30,000km cycling challenge from reaches final leg in London

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.

Luke achieving his dream of cycling the world.

In 2020 he set off on the epic challenge and to raise vital money for charity. Two years on, 29 countries travelled, £120,000 raised for charity, and now Luke (known as Bristol2Beijing on social channels), is on the final leg of his journey with one week left to go.

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, Luke is completing 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 an uncertainty and you don’t know what’s coming but touch wood I am here right now and will continue to be.”

Luke’s journey has been inspiring, with Young Lives vs Cancer’s ambassador Gaby Roslin recently praising Luke’s ‘amazing attitude to life.’

Luke said: “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 already joining him on his bike. This week is his last week, with his cycling due to end in Bristol at a celebration party.

Keeping Luke going has been his ambition to raise £300,000 for charities close to him too, including Young Lives vs Cancer. Throughout his cancer treatment, Luke and his parents were supported by a Young Lives vs Cancer social worker, Anna.

He said: “I’m so proud to have been partnered with Young Lives vs. Cancer during the two and a half years of the Bristol2Beijing expedition. It’s meant so much to me to be able to return the favour to support an amazing organisation that was so gracious and supportive to me during my treatments. What’s more, Team Young Lives has been a joy to collaborate with.”

Luke will be spending the afternoon at Young Lives vs Cancer’s office tomorrow (Tueseday, June 14) in Hammersmith, giving a talk to staff from the charity and bringing his bike to get some more miles in too. He’s spent the last month in London and has been overwhelmed by the support from the city.

Luke said: “The final leg of the expedition here in the UK has been exhilarating. I’ve made hundreds of new friends and feel so fortunate to have been able to share my story and our collective cause to so many people who continue to find inspiration and motivation in what we’re doing and what we have done with Bristol2Beijing. Indeed, we CanLive with cancer and there’s so much we all can do today to live a richer and more fulfilling life. I’ve got one more week to go and have my work cut out, I have 600 miles to cycle.”

Jenny Mullen, Fundraising Engagement Manager at Young Lives vs Cancer, said: “What Luke has achieved is simply incredible. He has inspired so many people with his positivity and we can’t wait to cheer him all the way to the finish line this week for his final leg. We want to say a huge thank you to Luke and all of his expedition team who have worked so hard to make Luke’s journey such a success. Their efforts mean Young Lives vs Cancer will continue to be there for more children and young people, like Luke, living with cancer.”

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.”

To read more of Luke’s story and donate, visit: https://www.bristol2beijing.org/lukes-story

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