Fund-raisers get back on their bikes in honour of brave Wigan schoolboy
A team of fund-raisers are getting back in the saddle as a cycling challenge inspired by a Wigan schoolboy returns.
The family of 10-year-old Olly Johnson have organised the ride from Southport to Abram each year to celebrate his recovery from leukaemia.
It could not go ahead last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it is full steam ahead for the event to be held on Saturday, July 17.
Among those taking part in the 25-mile challenge are Donna, her husband Phil and son Callum, 18.
She said: “I’m nervous because it’s been two years since the last ride. It’s a long way and it’s such a long time since we did it.”
They will be cheered on by Olly and his friend Josh Cubbin, 10, who will meet the riders at stops along the way.
The pair met when Josh, from Swinley, was being treated for Burkitt lymphoma - a very fast-growing type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma - on the same hospital ward as Olly, and his father Ian will be taking part in the bike ride.
As well as celebrating Olly being in remission, the challenge raises money for two causes that have made a difference - ward 84 at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where he was treated, and Kidscan, a charity carrying out research into treatment for poorly youngsters.
Donna said: “The charities, Kidscan and ward 84, rely on fund-raising opportunities and most events didn’t take place last year. We are really keen to be able to get up and running again.”
Olly was just two when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and he had chemotherapy every day for three years, taking it as medication at home and going to hospital every two weeks.
His treatment finally ended in 2017 and the plucky youngster is now in remission, with blood tests carried out every six months to check on his condition.
Hospital appointments had to be carried out remotely due to the pandemic, but his most recent appointment was done face-to-face and Olly was once again given the all-clear.
He is now enjoying lessons at Abram St John’s CE Primary School and looking to the future.
Donna said: “He’s doing amazingly at school. He goes into year six in September and we are thinking about high schools.”
To take part in the ride, email Donna at [email protected] Participants will meet at the Bucks Head pub in Abram and travel to Southport by coach, before riding back, with a celebration at the end.