Wife's double transplant inspires 1,000-mile bike ride in shed

Charles Napolitano

Charles Napolitano has set off on a 1,033 virtual bike ride from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise money for Addenbrooke's Hospital - Credit: Jen Napolitano

A husband has set off on a 1,000-mile virtual bike ride for the hospital which gave his wife a life-changing double transplant.

Graphic designer Jen Napolitano, 36, from King's Lynn, had a pancreas and kidney transplant at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge in May. Her organs had been failing for some time because of diabetes and by the end of 2018, her kidney function had fallen below 20pc.

"To save me from eventually going onto a life of dialysis, they suggested I go on the waiting list for a kidney transplant and because I was a Type 1 diabetic, they recommended also having a pancreas at the same time to help control my diabetes," she said.

Jen Napolitano

Jen Napolitano, who has received a life-changing double organ transplant, with her husband Charles - Credit: Jen Napolitano

"It's been a massive learning curve since the op, and there have been lots of scary bumps along the road, but what I am most grateful for is the Addenbrooke's transplant team who have been steadily exceptional every step of the way."

The couple want to gave something back to Addenbrooke's. So yoga instructor Mr Napolitano, 42, has taken to the shed at the couple's home in Gaywood, from where he has embarked on a virtual sponsored bike ride from Land's End to John O 'Groats.

He is taking the scenic route, meaning he will be riding 1,033 miles rather than the usual 847.

"I've done the odd 100-mile rides before and bits and pieces like that," he said. "But it's the first time I've tried to put it together day after day. Eventually I would like to do it for real."

The couple have a JustGiving page where people can make donations. It so far stands at £2,000 towards its £3,000 target.  

Charles Napolitano

Charles Napolitano, prior to setting off on his 1,033-mile virtual bike rode to raise money for Addenbrooke's Hospital - Credit: Jen Napolitano

Most Read

"All donations count and make a difference, whether it's to provide a small supply of eye masks and ear plugs to help patients struggling to sleep through all the beeping machines and regular patient check ups that tirelessly go on through the night to a £250,000 liver perfusion machine that 'test drives' the harvested liver to check for suitability and keeps it healthy while everything is being prepared for the op which can often be hours away."

Mr Napolitano is virtually in Glasgow. He expects to complete his journey on January 31. His virtual progress can be followed on Facebook.