A CITY mum will take part in the Rugby and Coventry Bikeathon to raise money for the blood cancer charity Bloodwise in memory of her son, who died of leukaemia at the age of seven.
Tracy Kelly, 51, from Wyken, is cycling the 26-mile route of the event, now in its 23rd year, on Sunday, June 11.
Her son, Harry, was diagnosed with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) at the age of four in February 2007.
Tracy said: “Harry had been experiencing varying ailments since October 2006, resulting in an operation to his elbow, just prior to his leukaemia diagnosis, for what was thought to be reactive arthritis.
“He began leukaemia treatment but relapsed in October 2008, resulting in more treatment at Birmingham Children’s Hospital as an in-patient, where he underwent a bone marrow transplant in early 2009. We were discharged but he relapsed again in July 2009 and passed away in August of that year.
“It came to light that one of his chromosomes at first diagnosis had been misidentified and he was put onto the treatment protocol for low risk patients, but in fact, he had a rare type of leukaemia within the high risk group and should have been given more intensive treatment.”
The 2017 Rugby and Coventry Bikeathon starts from two locations – Newbold Riverside School in Rugby and the Royal Oak pub in Brandon. Both start points offer three different routes of 10, 26 and 65 miles.
The event, organised by Rugby Round Table, is open to all ages and a hog roast is included in the entry fee.
Last year 600 people took part in the event.
Tracy said: “Like everyone, I was aware of childhood cancer and like most people assumed ‘It would never happen to me’ until my son Harry was diagnosed and I entered a world I never knew existed for more children than you could possibly imagine, undergoing treatment no child should have to endure.
“Fundraising, after Harry lost his fight, was a way of coping and in turn was helping to raise much needed funds to advance in the treatments for blood cancers.”
Yvonne Dickson, Head of Regional Fundraising at Bloodwise, said: “We are constantly inspired by supporters like Tracy and their dedication to fundraising.
“Harry’s story is an example of why it is so vital to keep raising money for research into finding new treatments for blood cancers.
“This event sounds like it’s going to be a great one to get involved with and every penny raised from it will help us in our mission to stop people dying and make patients’ lives better.”
People can donate to support Tracy’s fundraising ride at www.justgiving.com/harrymccall
There is still time to sign up for the event – to find out more visit Bloodwise.org.uk.