Youngster is back in the saddle and rides to victory

26th June 2015

In 2012, 14-year-old Charlie McVey, of Nottingham, was struck down with meningitis which almost cost him his life

Charlie McVey
Thankfully he recovered from the illness, but his cycling did not. 

During his time in hospital, Charlie lost confidence, muscle mass and all desire to ride. His sporting victories were a distant memory and he believed he would never be able to catch up to his team mates’ standards.

Charlie’s mother, Claire McVey, said: “For two years, his bikes and time trail gear just gathered dust. He wouldn’t even watch the Tour de France on TV, which was his favourite pastime with his father (if they weren’t out cycling together)."

“In March last year, completely off his own back, my son decided the passion was too much, and the pull towards his bike was too fierce. He turned his life around overnight and something which you hear other people talk about, happened right in front of our eyes."

“Charlie started training again. He was in the gym, on the roads, and was fortunate enough to go on several training camps in Spain.  Here he did some great mountain work and hill climbs. Every week got harder but was more and more beneficial. His health, fitness and desire to win came back with venom.”

Charlie continued training and started back with his old club. He began racing competitively in February 2015.

“He was on fire and biting at the bit. Sadly his first race ended very abruptly with a mechanical fault. We thought it might deter him, but on the contrary he was even more determined."

“Very shortly afterwards Charlie took part in a very fast paced, busy race but had a bad accident. He ended up in hospital after a 20 man pile-up. He was absolutely mortified that something else had the power to hold him back from his dreams that he worked so hard to achieve."

“Astonishingly two days later, he was all bandaged up and back in the saddle, albeit on the turbo trainer. He was not going to be held back for anything and it gave him more passion to reach his dreams.”

Claire McVey

On 20 June 2015, Charlie competed in a National Race in Spain. His hard work paid off and he finished the race in pole position.

“This weekend was the best feeling in the world, he won a race. He has come back to the sport he loves and is doing not only his family, friends and team proud, but is doing himself so very proud. For a young man who said he will never ride again, he’s not doing that bad at all!"

“His dreams towards cycling have only got bigger, and his desire stronger. Our support for him to follow his dream is immense.”

Claire McVey

We’ve been pleased to support the family during Charlie’s recovery and are delighted to see him back in the saddle. 

The physical and emotional impact of meningitis can be life-changing and many people feel they will never get back to the life they once had.

It’s fantastic to hear Charlie has picked his bike back up and is cycling competitively again - he is an inspiration to all those who have been affected by the disease. His triumph in Spain and his ability to overcome the effects of meningitis show that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Charlie’s grandparents support Meningitis Now by attending fundraising events, flying the flag on awareness, and sharing experiences with others who have been affected by the disease.

The strength and perseverance Charlie has shown to be able to follow his dream is a credit to him and all of us at Meningitis Now wish him the best of luck with his cycling in the future.