Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Some say being diagnosed with it is a mountain to climb. But cancer sufferer Kevin Graves has one to cycle up.
The 46-year-old sport science lecturer, from the College of West Anglia, is setting off for Belgium with his family on Friday.
After watching the start of the Tour de France in Liege, it’s next stop France for a sponsored bike ride with a difference.
Mr Graves, who was diagnosed with oesophogeal cancer in January, plans to ride up the 1860m Alpe d’Huez, a punishing ascent made famous by the Tour de France. He’ll be accompanied by his sister-in-law, Helen Anderson, who has flown in from her home in Brisbane, Australia, to take part in next Wednesday’s attempt.
Mr Graves, who lives in Snettisham with his wife Mandy and sons Michael and Luke, will be raising money for the chemotherapy unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he has been receiving treatment.
“We were hoping to raise £500 but that’s just been blown out off the roof, we’re looking at more like £3,000,” he said.
Mr Graves completed time trials and triathlons last year, without realising he had cancer.
“It was a total shock,” he said. “There are so many ways you can deal with things, I try and take the positive road but I have the odd bad day. You’re always fighting it, fighting for each day.”
Mrs Anderson, who works as a chemo nurse down under, said she had been practising for the climb on Mt Coot-Tha, which is near her home.
“It’s not as high but I went round it 10 times,” she said.
Mr Graves said he expected the climb to take an hour and 20 minutes. “It’ll be a lot quicker coming back down,” he said.