11 friends, 600km, 360 donations…in memory of one person

by Joe Balfour . July 2022

Recently, myself and ten other friends took on the challenge of cycling from London (St Albans for me) to Amsterdam, to raise money for Young Lives vs Cancer, all in memory of our good friend Matthew who passed away ten years ago.

The cycle covered roughly 600km, went through four countries (England, France, Belgium and Netherlands) and took place over four days. It was a challenge we all wanted to do well on, having only two punctures the whole trip was unbelievable, and, thanks to the Belgian and Dutch cycle pathway system, we remained safe and crash free throughout. I say crash free, one of the group did manage to go over the handlebars cycling off the ferry, right in front of the 300 cars waiting to get off too…I didn’t stop laughing until Amsterdam (Matthew would’ve done the same). We saw some beautiful sights from windmills in Netherlands, canals in Belgium and beaches in France. We even managed to cycle some of this year’s Tour de France route.

Our event received over 360 individual donations, and the total raised is inching towards £13,000, all going towards Young Lives vs Cancer. But why did we choose them as our charity?

Young Lives vs Cancer is a charity which was exceptionally supportive to Matthew and his family through his diagnosis, treatment and ultimately in his passing. They provided information, advice, and bereavement support, they can offer free stays for family when treatment is away from home and financial advice for anyone who needs it. COVID-19 has hit all charities exceptionally hard, and this one in particular has a special place in our hearts, it’s the least we could do for them.

Whilst we are over the moon to be able to generate money for the charity, what was most special to me was being able to spend time together as a group. We don’t often all get together for a long stretch of time and being able to talk about the good (and bad) times, reminisce about Matthew and ultimately continue to keep his memory alive is what makes these trips, and challenges even more special. Even after ten years, time together with friends and family helps with the grieving process.

Thank you, Aurora, for allowing me the time to complete this trip, and thank you to everyone for the donations.