One week ago I cycled into Paris for the third time in last three years among over 200 wonderful people from Bloodwise organization. As we arrived to Champs de Mars, I sat on the stairs watching Tour Eiffel and let the tears flow freely. As every previous year. It is impossible to describe the feelings, if you’ve never done this. It’s not just a long ride. It’s not just a physical achievement. You spend 4 days riding alongside people who you share something with, you support each other, you listen to their stories. Some are sad and terribly unfair, but many are stories of survival and inspiration. You spend 4 days in a world that seems better, more hopeful, where people are kinder. It feels euphoric, like being high on something, and then when it all ends, you experience a terrible down, like: how the hell am I going to live without this (and all of them) for an entire year? I’d like to spend a few words to thank everyone who helped getting me to Paris again.
First of all, a huge, sincere thank you to everyone who’s helped me raise almost £1.300 (over that amount including GiftAid from UK taxpayers) in less than a month, all of which is destined to support research projects to help cure blood cancers. Visit Bloodwise webpage if you want to see how the funds are spent. On a lighter note, I probably should not mention that a fair part of people who sponsored me know me in a way a priest would not approve of, but hey – fuck it (as a figure of speech). I guess in the end it’s a good thing if my loose morals serve for more than personal gratification (says Mary Magdalen of Central Europe). If anyone still wants to contribute (you know there are still a few left, don’t be shy, you can donate anonymously), the following link will remain active for a few more weeks. Thank you. Again.
Thank you to all the riders. It was great, as always, to see old friends and meet new friends, every single one of you is an extraordinary human being, I admire your strength, your attitude and energy despite everything you went through, your determination to donate your time and money to fight this horrible illness. It has been an absolute privilege and indescribable joy to be part of this with you.
Thank you Matt Lawley & the Bloodwise crew for making it all happen, your support has been unparalleled. Thank you to all the ride captains. I know some of you were disappointed that my fitness increased this year, giving you fewer opportunities to touch my arse with the lame excuse of helping me up the hill (I’m talking to you, Ben). Thank you masseurs and medics, even though I managed to stay on my bike this time A big thank you to all the motorcyclists for keeping us all safe along the route. Last but not least, thank you head mechanic Nigel Hill for lending me a real bike for this occasion – it made a huge difference.
Finally, thank you Bloodwise. For all the amazing work you have done and continue doing. Without your tireless effort, there would be fewer cures, fewer survivors and less time. Thank you for not only working your arses off to beat blood cancer, but also for creating a place of belonging and positivity for all of us. Thank you with all my heart.
If I managed to inspire anyone to become part of Bloodwise family, please take a few moments and register your interest in the 2019 ride here! See you all next year! Also, the final evening gala (and the now infamous disco) is a great occasion to check out how everybody looks like without the lycra outfit on.
All professional photos (those that are not blurred thanks to my phone’s filthy lens) courtesy of Bloodwise and Dave Hayward.