A WIDOWER’S charity bike mission has been wrecked by a car crash before it even began.
Toby Edwards, who featured on the front page of last week’s Wigan Observer unveiling plans for a 5,000-mile coastal trek in memory of his much-missed partner Sonia Akow, was seriously injured in a collision on the way to the start in Sussex.
Since my partner passed away, I have cycled almost every day and it has really helped me get through it. Cycling clears my mind and this was something I was really looking forward to. I really hope I’ll be able to do it again once I’m fully recoveredToby Edwards
Doctors have told the 42-year-old that it could take up to a year for his shattered shoulder - which had to be pinned during a three-and-a-half-hour operation - to heal completely.
But family say that he has vowed to resume the marathon challenge the moment he is fit enough to do so.
The Observer told last week of Toby’s heart-rending story of losing his soul mate to leukaemia at the age of just 43.
Toby, who had been a member of Wigan golf and cricket clubs, was riding to the start of the sponsored cycle ride in Hastings at the weekend when a car pulled out of a side road and there was no way of avoiding the impact.
On Monday he was released from hospital after his shoulder surgery and is today recuperating at his parents’ home in Rowton Rise, Standish.
Toby told the Observer: “I was in a lot of pain but my first thought was the bike.
“I wanted to make sure it could be fixed because, in my mind, I thought I would be able to make it to the start of the ride.
“Obviously, when I saw the x-ray, I realised my shoulder was very badly damaged and I wouldn’t be able to carry on.
“I am devastated because of what the ride was for but also because of all the people who have helped make it possible.
“Since my partner passed away, I have cycled almost every day and it has really helped me get through it. Cycling clears my mind and this was something I was really looking forward to.
“I really hope I’ll be able to do it again once I’m fully recovered.”
His father Richard added: “He’s a very determined man. We know that he’ll put all this behind him and when the time is right will be on his bike again. He hates to be defeated.”
Toby and Sonia fell in love at university two decades ago.
But a couple of years ago, she began to feel ill and after many tests, was diagnosed as suffering from leukaemia.
After a massive search, a donor was found she underwent stem cell transplant replacement.
It was initially successful, but Sonia’s condition worsened and she died in Toby’s arms three months later.
As well as the Anthony Nolan charity, Toby was raising money for ACLT, a charity which aims to raise the number of people from ethnic minorities on the UK bone marrow and blood donation registers, and BPositive, an organisation which supports people with leukaemia.