BEING given the all-clear from cancer and reaching a milestone birthday has inspired a Leamington dad to take on a mammoth 4,000 mile bike ride.
Martin Haywood celebrated his 50th birthday earlier this year and knew he wanted to do something to mark the occasion.
But rather than having a party, the dad-of-two put into motion his plan to cycle thousands of miles around Warwickshire – the equivalent of riding to Uganda.
The finance director says the ride is a way to raise money for an orphanage in the poverty-stricken African country but also to recognise his recovery from testicular cancer.
Martin was diagnosed in 1998, just ten days after his twin children were born. He quickly had to undergo an operation to remove the tumour and had years of radiotherapy and check-ups.
He said: “When I was diagnosed I was in complete shock, it was like someone had dragged the carpet from beneath me. I realised then how often we take our health for granted.
“My 50th birthday is a very special milestone for me and it has been my intention to mark it for several years. It is also an opportunity to give something back which is of significance.”
Martin’s church – St Paul’s in Leamington – works alongside the Ugandan charity Nzirambi Orphans Talent Development Centre, which helps disadvantaged children in the country. He hopes to raise some £50,000 by undertaking the ride, which will fit around a full-time job and family life.
The challenge will last from the end of April until the start of July, with Martin cycling around 400 miles a week.
He said: “I chose this time of year to capitalise on maximum daylight hours and plan to cycle in the morning and evening.
“Evans Cycles in Leamington are maintaining my bike for the ride and it’s a massive weight off my mind to know my bike has been checked by a mechanic.
“I have a rest day every 11 days and with the maintenance I can just get on and continue riding early the next morning.”
Search for Notdec 4,000 Mile Bike Ride on Facebook to donate or find out more.