It’s an odd feeling being at the finale party for something you haven’t actually done. I mean, I was on duty from 4am on Thursday to get things ready and I was awake more hours than I thought possible over the next four days but I didn’t actually ride a bike for so much as a centimetre. And when you’re celebrating the feats of 40 people who have ridden 300 miles, climbed obscene hills, dealt with hazardous fords, motorists and tram tracks, and who have done so with great humour whilst raising a massive amount of money for medical research and awareness (for a charity called Core)… well, all you can do is put on your t-shirt and enjoy the champagne.
Core is a charity you probably won’t have heard of. They look at people’s digestive system and say: you know the conditions that affect this are a factor in 1 in 8 UK deaths and yet most people are unaware of the danger symptoms and diagnosis doesn’t always come quickly enough. Core says more research is needed and then struggles to get its voice heard to raise the funds to make that happen. GastroCycle – and these guys cheering on the steps – might just change that.
Core has had results. Obviously it has. You don’t keep going for 43 years in such a difficult world without that being true. Some great research has come out of the organisation although being defiantly non-medical I’d struggle to explain to you what all the big words mean – but it’s covered bowel cancer, pancreatitis, Crohn’s, IBS, ulcerative colitis, liver disease and many other things. And despite being tiny, its information reaches about a quarter of a million people a year. There’s now also a growing series of events called ‘Exploring the Science of Digestion’ (the next one’s in London in November) where experts talk to patients and the patients talk back.
I’ll declare an interest. Core is the charity I work for. I’m 50% of the staff we have. We need to grow, we need to do things like this again – and we need more money for everything we want to do to fight the awful diseases that effect the digestive system. (If I can’t convince you – maybe Dr Phil Hammond can). If you’ve read this far and think you can spare a few quid why not click here to make a donation. Every pound you can give will make a massive difference.
And if you can’t donate but want to join the fight in other ways – drop me a line. Perhaps we can get you on your bike. There’ll be generic non-brand fizzy white wine at the finish line.