Teenager's Rickshaw Challenge
A Bakewell student has been selected to undertake The One Show's Rickshaw Challenge for BBC Children in Need.
Lady Manners student Andy Davies, 18, taking part in the challenge to say thanks to the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, will be joined by five other young riders alongside presenter Matt Baker for the 470-mile journey.
Departing on November 11, the young riders will work their way down Britain’s East Coast in a bid to cross the finish line on November 18, in time for the BBC Children in Need Appeal Show.
At the age of 13 Andy was diagnosed with an aggressive blood cancer, acute myeloid leukaemia.
The typically sporty teen fell ill just short of starting year nine when a series of painful tests revealed the devastating news.
After four rounds of chemotherapy that left him nauseous and desperately ill, Andy underwent a bone marrow transplant to reduce the chances of cancer returning.
The treatments drained him both physically and mentally and often forced him to spend weeks in isolation due to his compromised immune system.
As a result his confidence suffered, but the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust stepped in and helped change that.
The organisation threw him a vital lifeline when he was in recovery and at a very low ebb by inviting him on a residential sailing trip, allowing him to meet other young people left socially isolated by the disease.
Andy’s first sailing trip came at a time when his self-belief was low from having cancer but being around other youngsters his age who were also in recovery from illness helped him open up about his experiences.
And the challenge of working on the boat allowed him to feel physically capable again.
He said: “I have been in remission for almost four years now and I know I am here today thanks to the efforts of so many people. It’s been a tough journey, and there were times when I felt afraid and alone, but I’ve never felt stronger or more ready to give back.
“That is why I’m taking on the Rickshaw Challenge – I want to help other young people who are ill or in recovery to know that they are not alone.”
The charity is a real lifeline, giving young people who have been forced to take time out of school, work, or college to undergo treatment an opportunity to forget about their condition and focus on something positive with others who share their experiences.
Recently the group secured new funding from BBC Children in Need and subsequently pledged to run activities that improve well-being and self-esteem.
To date the challenge has raised more than £12m and Andy and the other young riders will not only test their pedal power, but also their mettle as they deliver speeches to a live audience explaining their motivations for taking on the challenge this year.
The team hope their efforts will not only help them raise money, but also awareness of the difference being made to children and young people’s lives thanks to BBC Children in Need. To support the challenge, you can donate either £5 or £10. To donate £5 text the word TEAM to 70405. To donate £10, text TEAM to 70410.