George Placidi, 22, of Warsash in Hampshire, completed the last leg of his cycling marathon from Gosport to his home to be welcomed back by family and friends.
It was the culmination of a journey that started a year ago and 19,000 kilometres away in Auckland, New Zealand.
George, who had been raising awareness of meningitis and funds for us throughout his challenge, has cycled across mountain ranges, deserts and through some of the harshest terrain known to man. He started his quest by cycling to the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island before flying to Hong Kong, where he began his journey through China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and India.
He then boarded a plane to Turkey and cycled through Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium and France.
George, who had been travelling and working in Australia, said: “When my visa came to an end and I had to return to England I decided to do what any sane young man would do … and make my way home using a good old fashioned bicycle.
“It was an amazing trip and I got to see things and share experiences that just wouldn’t have happened if I’d just jumped on the first plane home.”
As well as a memorable experience George’s efforts have raised over £1,250 towards our work. George was supporting his best friend and our Young Ambassador Mat Johnstone now 23 and also from Warsash, who was struck down by the disease in November 2010.
Mat was unable to move or feel anything from the waist down following the disease and required intensive physiotherapy to get sensation and movement back in his lower limbs. Thankfully, he has improved significantly and is now able to walk and do the things he loves, such as play sports, once again.
Mat said: “George is amazing – I know I couldn’t have done what he has. This challenge was beyond tough but George has smashed it!”
Anyone who would like to donate to George’s fundraising can visit George Placidi's Just Giving page.