Posted on Tuesday 29 March 2022
London father taking on epic 200-mile charity challenge after son’s shock cancer journey during pandemic
A father from London is taking on a 200-mile cycling challenge to raise vital funds for two charities, including Young Lives vs Cancer, after his own three year old son was diagnosed with cancer during the pandemic.
Jon Beill from South West London is aiming to complete two epic 100-mile cycling events in just one week.
In April 2020, as the country went into the first Covid-19 lockdown, Jon’s family had their lives turned upside down when his three year old, Harrison was diagnosed with leukaemia. Within 24 hours, Harrison was admitted to intensive care and started treatment. Since then, Harrison has spent months in hospital, at times had almost daily home visits from nurses and multiple operations. Although Harrison got through his first round of treatment, the leukaemia came back, and the family were told a bone marrow transplant was now his best option. Thankfully, his older brother Zach was a match. Zach gave his bone marrow to his brother last summer and now Harrison is on the road to recovery.
Jon said: “It’s not been an easy thing for us to get our heads round, but then you don’t really have time to. We have never really had time to fully sit back and come to terms with it. It’s all been pretty tough on someone so young and Harrison also has no real idea of either the seriousness of the illness he has or any concept of time and how long he has had to be in hospital.
“My wife, Sarah has been amazing as has his big brother Zach. As a family we are coping and have found new routines and coping mechanisms and are taking things day by day despite often being apart.”
Throughout their journey the family were supported by Young Lives vs Cancer. When cancer strikes young lives, Young Lives vs Cancer helps families limit the damage cancer causes beyond their health. The charity provides specialist support, to help guide each young cancer patient and their family. Jon is now keen to give back to the charity. First he’ll be tackling the RideLondon-Essex 100 on May 29, quickly followed by the Tour of Cambridgeshire in early June.
Jon said: “Young Lives Vs Cancer has helped us with counselling, gifts for the kids at difficult times, and much more. These charities make a big difference at a very difficult time for families and we are truly grateful they exist alongside the NHS.”
Rebeca Clements, Fundraising Engagement Manager for London at Young Lives vs Cancer, said: “We cannot thank Jon enough for wanting to give something back to Young Lives vs Cancer and taking on such an epic challenge to raise funds and awareness.
Jon’s events have been cancelled and pushed back because of the pandemic so it’s really exciting to finally see the event preparations in full swing ahead of RideLondon at the end of May.”
“Jon is such a brilliant fundraiser and we are so thankful for the £4,125 he has raised to date.
“With the rising cost of living, the money raised will help children, young people and their families cope with the additional financial pressures when living with cancer.
“When cancer strikes young lives we fight tirelessly to limit the damage it causes beyond their health. We rely entirely on donations to fund our vital work and so we can’t thank Jon enough for his fantastic efforts.”
To donate towards Jon’s total, click here.
If you’re interested in taking part in the RideLondon-Essex 100 you can purchase a place via Young Lives vs Cancer, just head to this link here.
Children and young people with cancer will receive emotional and financial support thanks to Cambridgeshire Freemasons
A grant from the Cambridgeshire Freemasons will fund a Young Lives vs Cancer social worker in Addenbrookes to help young people facing cancer
Young Lives vs Cancer has been chosen as Hitachi Solutions' first-ever charity of the year