Amanda Taylor, formerly Amanda Turner, and her husband, Ben Taylor, are Cleveland natives and former residents who are cycling more than 200 miles through Europe in an effort to fight breast cancer.
The couple, along with their two friends, Bart Hallmark and Chris Hopkins, will make a three-day cycling trip. In return, they are requesting that donations be made to the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, the top ranking research and teaching hospital for the University of Cambridge.
The group of four decided to complete this cycling excursion in honor of two friends and co-workers, Vanessa Blake and Sandra Crawford, who are both battling cancer. They will start at the London Tower Bridge in London on July 10 and arrive at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on July 13.
“Ben and I had wanted to do a long-distance ride at some point, and I had seen advertisements for charity bike rides,” Taylor said. “They were never at a time when we could go, though, so it was put on the back burner. When Vanessa told us about the cancer, it was really eating away with me to ‘do something.’
“It all just seemed to fit to put it all together, set up our own fundraising, and organize a ride on our own,” said Taylor. The group will fund all their own food, drinks, hotels and ferry crossing to make sure all funds and profits go to cancer research. ACT’s Breast Unit will use the funds gathered to help further breast cancer research and provide support needed to those battling the disease.
They have raised exactly 85 percent of their financial goal through just 74 donations. The group has gathered $2,639 with an objective of $3,075 to raise.
“The idea of cycling to raise money for cancer was a bit of a ‘Eureka’ moment — you could say Ben and I cycle a lot here in Cambridge,” where they now reside, Taylor said. “We decided not to buy a car and get around by bike and train instead. I cycle 20 miles round trip to and from work each day. Ben takes the train in to work and cycles the 13 hilly miles home. We often go on longer rides with Bart about one weekend a month, normally doing 40 or so miles in a day, but we did the 70 miles from London to Cambridge back in March.”
The Taylors initially moved to the United Kingdom in September 2007 so Ben could start his doctorate in chemical engineering at the University of Cambridge. Amanda is the research secretary in his department and works with graduate student records and graduate admissions.
It was there that they met Blake, who works in the IT Department, and Crawford, who works in accounts at the university.
The Taylors will be on a tandem — a bike with two seats. Taylor plans to blog once per day along the way depending on her wireless Internet access. The site will be released next week at http://viewfromthestokersseat.blogspot.co.uk/.
Hallmark will be riding a racer bike and Hopkins will be cycling as well as driving the support vehicle. Hallmark is an expert cyclist who has done pro-am races, headed up the Cambridge cycling team, and has even cycled through the Alps. Hallmark is also fluent in French which will help the group in their communications.
Hopkins will drive ahead of the group to the stopping point, unload his bicycle and ride back to the group to join them along the way. The group plans to carry water and some spending money. They will also bring their U.S. passports, snacks and emergency bike repair kits including puncture-repair patches, a pump and spare tubes. Larger items such as luggage, spokes, extra tires and chains will be carried in the support car.
Though the group is in Europe, donations can still be made to the trust. To help support the cause or see how the group is doing, visit www.justgiving.com/support-vanessa-and-sandra.