Belfast Telegraph

Widow’s cycling feat aims to boost brain tumour research

Sophie Oldacres is raising funds for charity in memory of her late husband, Simon, who died of brain cancer in 2016.

A widow is raising thousands of euros for charity in memory of her late husband.

Cyclists from the UK hit County Cork this weekend to raise funds and awareness for brain tumour research.

The major cycling event, Ride4Simon, was organised by Sophie Oldacres in memory of her late husband Simon, who died of brain cancer in December 2016 aged just 37.

In 2013, Simon was diagnosed with a glioblastoma – an aggressive and incurable brain tumour.

He left behind Sophie and their two young children, Joseph and Esther.

Now Sophie, from Chippenham in Wiltshire – who, despite cycling 75 miles on Saturday, says she is “not a cyclist” – wants to make sure Simon’s memory lives on for their children.

She said: “Simon was a keen cyclist, and post-diagnosis in 2013, a good cycle was his equivalent to counselling.

“He even rode to many of his hospital appointments, which was always recorded in the oncologist’s notes because it was so unusual.”

With an Irish mother from Skibbereen, Simon grew up in the UK but spent many happy holidays in County Cork.

Ride4Simon Ireland has been planned to take in many of Simon’s favourite places, starting at Union Hall on Saturday before finishing at Dripsey Cross on Sunday.

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Simon enjoyed happy times in Ireland as a child (Ride4Simon/PA)

The cycle will take in nearly 250 kilometres (155 miles) of County Cork countryside over two days.

Sophie said she felt Cork was the perfect place for the challenge.

“We thought it would be nice to go to the areas Simon played as a child and spent some of his happiest days,” she said.

“The kids are here with me, and they’ve learned to ride their bikes this year so it’s definitely a family occasion.

“I love that friends and family are getting together, having the meetings to organise it, and doing all of this for Simon’s memory.

“We’ve raised over £6,000 this time (6,740 euro), in total £35,000 (39,000 euro) over four years.

“It’s amazing.”

Simon’s family and friends hope to emulate the success of Ride4Simon UK event, which was held last September and raised more than £16,000 (18,000 euro) for the Brain Tumour Research charity.

Sophie said: “Not enough is being done through research to make a breakthrough for others facing similar diagnoses to Simon.

“As friends and family of Simon, we know how shattering a brain tumour diagnosis is. We really hope this ride can help to make a difference so that one day there might be real hope for others in our position.

“Building on what we achieved last September with the first Ride4Simon, this year we wanted to head to County Cork, a place that was so special to Simon throughout his life and a fitting venue for this challenge.”

Read more about Sophie’s challenge around County Cork at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Ride4Simon2018

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