Jack, originally from Milton Keynes, was inspired during the coronavirus lockdown to fundraise in memory of his uncle, who died of meningitis before Jack was born. Here’s his amazing story:
“To our family, meningitis was never a concern until January 1989. My uncle suddenly became ill at fifteen years old. As the youngest of five and the only male offspring, his death from meningitis hit the family hard. Every family gathering - and that’s a lot - we remember him, so even though I never met him he had played a big part in my life. Whilst I know how my uncle died, I realised how unspoken it was as a disease, as it is now immunised against.
“As there was lots of time to plan, I decided during lockdown that I was going to do a sponsored bike ride, being inspired by other fundraisers for larger and more well-known charities in the same month. The plan is to cycle 400 miles in September - cycling being chosen as I’m not much of a runner, and I can sit down for the majority of the time - starting on Monday 31 August and finishing 26 September.
“Living in the Cotswolds, I’ve taken on the task of road cycling, mainly for the views. There have been many training injuries - mainly scraped knees and elbows from struggling to get my feet off the pedals when stopping, inevitably causing many comedic bike topples, and vomit on the odd occasions from over exertion. However, what surprised me the most, and one of the biggest struggles, is the mental strain I will have to face in this challenge (as well as the obvious 400 miles).
“My whole family, including my grandparents, are incredibly supportive so I’ve been updating on a daily basis through the Strava app, recalling the highs as well as the lows. Unfortunately, the regulations around social distancing at the moment mean we can’t all get together as a family on my final ride, but we’ll be live-streaming via Facebook for everyone to cheer me over the line as I complete the charity cycle challenge at the end of September.
“I started a GoFundMe page mid-August 2020 with a target goal of £400 for Meningitis Now. However, I raised over £1,000 within a week and that was before I had even started the challenge! The current total is over £1,700 and it would be amazing to see how much more I can raise.”
Thank you so much Jack – you’re an absolute cycling superhero and we can’t wait to hear how your challenge goes!
You can follow Jack’s fundraising progress on GoFundMe at www.gofundme.com/f/jack039s-400-mile-cycle-for-meningitis-now
*Update - 30 September 2020*
On Saturday 26 September, Jack cycled across the finish line after covering a huge total of 404 miles. He even featured in a 'True Legend' segment on Channel 4's Sunday Brunch! Huge congratulations Jack - you're a true #teamtangerine legend too.