A mother who has battled cancer is gearing up for a gruelling charity cycling challenge to raise funds to tackle the deadly disease.
Alex Reed, 47, from Felton, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2016.
The mother-of-two endured an unrelenting period of treatment and nearly died due to the side effects of the drugs.
Three days before she was due to start chemotherapy, she saw an advert for the Women v Cancer London to Paris Bike Ride, to raise funds to fight breast, cervical and ovarian cancers.
She duly signed up for the women-only challenge and will be joined on the 240-mile journey by 18 of her friends. The hardy gang are calling themselves The Cycle Sisters. Two team members have fought bowel cancer within the last 10 years.
Alex said: “In October 2016, I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive cancer affecting women generally under the age of 45.
“I was 46 at the time, fit, healthy, never smoked, not overweight, good diet and an active member of Alnwick Harriers.
“An aggressive cancer needs aggressive treatment. I started six cycles of chemotherapy five weeks after finding the breast lump. I was extremely poorly on chemotherapy.
“In February, due to a side effect of the drugs, I was rushed to hospital and nearly died. I had breast surgery in the April to remove what was left of the cancer and finished my treatment with four weeks of daily radiotherapy. It was exhausting.
“Triple negative breast cancer is negative to the three hormone receptors; progesterone, oestrogen and HER – 2. Therefore, there is no ongoing preventative drug treatment. The only treatment ongoing is a fit, healthy and positive lifestyle.
“Three days before I started chemotherapy, I saw an advert to cycle London to Paris to raise money for women’s cancer. I hadn’t told many of my friends about my diagnosis. I announced it on Facebook and asked if any of them would like to cycle with me. There are 18 of my friends from Felton, Alnmouth, Morpeth and Scotland joining me.
“We called ourselves The Cycle Sisters, because I don’t have any siblings, but it was the love and support of all my friends, as well as my family, which gave me the strength and encouragement to get through the treatment and embrace life.”
The challenge takes place from September 6 to September 8, taking riders through rolling English countryside and the breath-taking panorama of northern France to a spectacular finish at the Champs-Élysées.
Funds raised will be divided equally between Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action.
As well as the commitment to cycle and train hard, each team member has pledged to raise £1,600 for the cause.
As part of this, a St Patrick’s Night fun ball is taking place at The Gosforth Marriott on Saturday, March 17. Tickets are £50 each including arrival drinks, a three-course meal, entertainment and a disco. A return bus has been arranged from Alnwick – Willowburn/Felton/Morpeth on the evening. A bus is also available from Rothbury.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets. If you can’t attend, but would like to donate, Claire can give you details about this. To donate prizes/vouchers for the raffle on the night, email email@example.com