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New charity's fundraising plan is a wheelie great idea

27 January 2014


24,901.55 miles, five static bikes, around 1000 participants – all in 80 days!

You don't have to be Wiggo, Chris Froome or Victoria Pendleton. There are no yellow jerseys, time trials, sprints or, thankfully, gruelling mountains to climb. But if you're a keen cyclist the Keyhole Cancer Appeal want you! 

The new south-Essex based charity appeal is looking for people to put pedals to the metal and help to raise £600,000 for a new state-of-the-art keyhole theatre at Southend Hospital, which will increase the quality and quantity of a wide variety of the surgery performed at Southend University Hospital.

Colin George, Chairman of the Southend Hospital Charitable Foundation explains:"Inspired by Jules Verne's classic story, Around the World in Eighty Days (AW80D), we're taking five normal road bikes around Essex and asking individuals or groups of friends to raise some money and cycle the equivalent of sixty miles to help us achieve our challenge of circumnavigating the globe - or completing 24,901.55 miles - without leaving Essex! We'd like to thank Adventure Island for sponsoring this mammoth fundraising endeavour and making it possible." 

Keyhole surgery is performed through a ½ inch incision or through natural orifices, rather than open surgery. This means a quicker recovery time for patients as well as less pain and a reduced chance of infection. It is used for a vast number of operations, from removing bowel and prostate cancer tumours, gallstones and kidney stones to surgery for appendicitis, hernia repairs, gynaecology and joint problems.

Mr Mike Dworkin, on behalf of the Southend surgeons, says "The new theatre will deliver high resolution 3D images allowing us to perform the latest and most complex procedures far more easily, plus increased efficiency means we will be able to treat even more patients. It really will make a massive difference to people's lives." 

AW80D will start on 1 February and run until the end of April 2014, visiting a huge number of popular Essex locations and well-known businesses on its journey - including into Lakeside Shopping Centre, Southend United Football Club, the Royals Shopping Centre, London Southend Airport, Southend University Hospital, Southend Essex College, Southend Victoria Train Station, Virgin Active, Royal Bank of Scotland, Aviva and Adventure Island on Southend seafront.

At each venue intrepid volunteers and fundraisers can take a spin on one of the bikes, kindly supplied by leading bike store, Cycles UK. The bikes will be fixed to turbo trainers, to keep them stable and in one place whilst the rider clocks up the miles. 

Lucy Thomas-Clayton, Southend Hospital Associate Director Community Engagement, says "Each day our five static bikes need to cover 60 miles each. If you'd like to take part, but the distance seems too far, then you can share a day on the bike with a friend, or group of mates. All we ask is that people raise a minimum of £15 in sponsorship, either as an individual or team. And although the main aim of AW80D is to raise money for the new laparoscopy equipment and unit; we expect that a level of competition will creep in! So, we'll have prizes for the fastest male and female riders to complete the sixty miles and for the person or group raising the most money." 

The organisers estimate that the sixty miles can be comfortably completed in four hours and will allow participants rest and comfort breaks whenever required.  Along with providing the bikes, Cycles UK will also provide their professional support and maintenance skills to make sure the equipment runs smoothly throughout the 3 months of the event.      

To get involved in AW80D, visit www.sh-cf.org or contact the Southend Hospital Fundraising team on 01702 385337 / fundraising@southend.nhs.uk