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Chris' Baltic Cycle Ride

My name is Chris Nolan. A month after my second daughter was born in late 2012 I was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer that had spread to my liver, and was given six months to live. After a year and a half of treatment, hope and negativity, I had a consultation with Professor Stebbing. I immediately felt in the hands of expert, and he was clear as to the next steps to take: a different course of chemotherapy and surgery. Subsequent scans have been clear.

Being alive two years after I was told I would be dead, and being able to be properly physically active again I felt a need to do something life affirming, challenging and adventurous.

I've always enjoyed travel and had been a keen cyclist before I was diagnosed. So I decided that I wanted to do a long distance cycle ride in Eastern Europe. This also seemed like a great opportunity to raise money for charity raising money for Professor Stebbing and his team to continue their ground breaking research helping other people in a similar position to me, so I set a target to raise £2000.

With only two months to train I worked hard on regaining strength and endurance. Would I have the energy to do long distance endurance cycling? Would my hands and feet, which are affected by the chemo I am taking, hold up? Was my body strong enough after all the surgery? In the middle of June 2015 I flew to Riga, Latvia, assembled my bike at the airport and started cycling south.

The sky was blue, the sun was warm, and the wind gentle - the auspices were good. Two weeks later I had cycled 1,000 miles, climbed 33,000 feet, crossed Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovakia to arrive in Hungary. I saw lovely countryside and experienced the hospitality of many wonderful people. My very generous friends and colleagues had sponsored me for £5800 (and more is still coming in) far exceeding my initial target. I was met at the airport by my wife and daughters for a wonderful reunion.

I don't know how long I have but I know that with Professor Stebbing I am in the very best hands possible. In the mean time I enjoy life, work hard, and treasure every minute with my family.

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Chris leaning on his bike

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