A TEAM of 16 cyclists will hit the road at the weekend to use their legs in the hope that they can help a youngster fulfil his ambition of one day being able to use his.
The riders are competing in a fundraiser called Reason to Ride on Sunday and will be aiming to complete a 200-mile journey in just 16 hours.
Cash raised by the event will be handed over to help cerebral palsy sufferer Callum Brown.
The eight-year-old and his parents, Sharon and Neil Brown, of Derwent Road in Seaton Sluice, are aiming to raise £70,000 to pay for life-changing surgery in the US which they hope will enable him to walk unaided.
The family originally set themselves a target of £50,000 to pay for the pioneering operation in Missouri, but they have had to revise that figure up to £70,000 to take the cost of physiotherapy afterwards into account.
Their fundraising is now just short of the £50,000 mark, and GB triathlete Joanna Reed, of Gosforth, has organised two challenges – Reason to Ride and Reason to Run – in a bid to help the youngster reach his target.
Joanna, 37, one of those taking park in the ride, said: “I am really lucky to be able to do the things I can do, and I thought if I can use my legs to help a little boy be able to use his, then I will.
“I knew I would need to do a big challenge, which is where the 200 miles in one day came from, and then more and more people wanted to get involved, and it evolved from there.
“If the weather is fine, then the ride will be great, but I think it will be a real test for the riders, physically and mentally as well, to just keep going.
“We have completed 140 miles in training, but it will be a real challenge.”
The riders will set out from Edinburgh at 5am and finish at Newcastle at about 9pm, and each rider has been asked to raise a minimum of £1,000 for Callum’s appeal.
It is hoped that Callum will undergo the selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery at the start of next year.
Mum Sharon said: “We are delighted that so many people are getting behind the cause and helping Callum.
“The Reason to Ride will really help put our target within reach.
“We are so grateful to everyone taking part and to Joanna who has gone hell for leather organising the ride. She has really gone to town.
“We have a few more events organised and some money still to come in from others, so we hope to be able to reach our target really soon. This is a massive boost for us, and we are so thankful to everyone involved.”
As well as Reason to Ride on Sunday, runners Matt Atkinson, 41, of Gosforth, and Phil Smith, 36, of Ashington, will cover the 84-mile length of Hadrian’s Wall, from Bowness-on-Solway to Wallsend, in 20 hours overnight on Saturday for a fundraiser called Reason to Run.
For further details, go to www.callumswishtowalk.co.uk or www.justgiving.com/reasontoride