AFTER a two-year delay, farmer Iestyn Meddins and fellow members of Côr Meibion Machynlleth are embarking on a mammoth 250-mile cycle ride this month to raise money for the Bronglais Chemo Appeal.
Iestyn, 45, is organising Le Tour de Côr to support his wife Dr Elin Jones, who is locum consultant oncologist at Bronglais Hospital and is the Clinical Lead for the planned new chemotherapy day unit.
And among the cyclists taking part is Mallwyd farmer Geraint Morgans, who was treated by Dr Elin after being admitted to Bronglais Hospital, aged 37, with suspected appendicitis but found to have bowel cancer.
The 29 cyclists will be setting off on the four-day ride from Holyhead on Wednesday, 17th August, finishing in Cardiff on Saturday, 20th, where they will be greeted on the steps of the Senedd by Presiding Officer, Elin Jones MS, whose constituency includes the hospital.
The majority of those taking part will be members of the Machynlleth-based male voice choir but there will also be some friends and relatives along for the ride.
Iestyn, who is choir chairman, said: “We’re all two years older after having to cancel the ride in 2020 because of the pandemic, but we are all still very enthusiastic to fulfil the challenge.
“Living with Dr El, I have seen first-hand how much the staff have longed for a purpose-built chemotherapy unit, because they really care about how patients are treated during their cancer journey.
“We will be grateful for any donations to the cause; you’ll be making a massive difference to cancer patients of mid Wales.”
The bikers have already raised £13,000 for the Appeal and are hoping to double that. You can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/iestynmeddins
Iestyn, who lives in Penygoes, near Machynlleth, added: “I have been overwhelmed by the donations so far and offers of help, including lots of refreshments along the way.”
The group hopes to average around 65 miles a day, much of it off-road on the National Cycle Route 8.
The ride will take them from Holyhead to Porthmadog on the 17th; Porthmadog to Staylittle on the 18th; Staylittle to Brecon on the 19th; and on the final day, Saturday 20th, from Brecon to Cardiff.
Geraint, a father-of-three. said: “It’s almost seven years since I was admitted to Bronglais Hospital with what I thought was appendicitis, only to find out I had a perforated tumour. After an operation, I then needed chemotherapy under the care of Dr Elin and I started on the journey. I look back and think of it as a perilous time, but a time when my life was saved.
“I have been given the all clear and life a full and happy life. I owe a huge debt to the Bronglais Chemotherapy Unit, so it’s a very small thing for me to do to get on my bike and cycle from Holyhead to Cardiff. I just hope that I can do it.”
Dr Elin said: “It has also been so wonderful to see the passion and effort by the choir members, those cycling and those offering practical and financial support. I am so proud of them all but especially my husband. I want to say a personal thank you to Iestyn, who’s a natural joker, because without him I would not have the strength to do the job I do.”
For further information on the Appeal, which aims to raise the final £500,000 for a new chemotherapy day unit to become a reality, go to: www.hywelddahealthcharities.org.uk