A PEEBLES boy has completed a “once in a lifetime” 160-mile cycling challenge in aid of two cancer charities close to his heart.
Sam Brown and his dad, Richard, cycled from the town to Gifford (via Berwick-on-Tweed) over the weekend to help raise money for the Bone Cancer Research Trust and Young Lives Vs Cancer (formerly CLIC Sargent).
Inspired by his older cousin, Toby (15), Sam wanted to take on the challenge to show his support for Toby’s battle with Ewing Sarcoma – a rare form of bone cancer – which he was diagnosed with in March.
“I wanted to make my cousin feel supported,” said Sam, aged 12, “it’s a tough thing he’s going through.”
A keen cyclist, Sam decided he would cycle the 160 miles to honour the number of people diagnosed with bone cancer each year.
He said: “It was something I really wanted to do.
“It was two miles for each person diagnosed.”
Sam and Richard (42) began the challenge on Saturday (June 26) at 6am, setting off from his home in Peebles, cycling towards Edinburgh then around the coast through Dunbar and on to Berwick-on-Tweed.
On their first day the duo managed to cover 110 miles of their total.
Then on Sunday they made their way to Gifford via Coldstream – completing their final 50 miles by 3pm on Sunday (June 27).
Richard, who works in software development, said: “Having done cycling events in the past, it’s been great seeing him [Sam] dedicated to the training.
“I’m really proud of him.
“He’s a strong cyclist but what got him through is his attitude.”
He added: “I’m getting worried though, as he’s getting faster than me.”
Before the weekend, Sam took every opportunity he had to train. While visiting family in England, Sam went on a number of bike rides, including one 70-mile session with one of his uncles.
And during the challenge, Sam and Richard were given extra support from their loved ones, with Sam’s mum and two younger siblings acting as a support crew – taking photos of the duo from laybys and shouting support from their car seats.
Friends also joined them to celebrate as they crossed the finish line at Gifford.
As this paper went to press, Sam had smashed his initial fundraising target of £500.
“We thought £500 would be a stretch,” said Richard.
However, thanks to a mixture of anonymous donations and those from friends and family, Sam has raised £5,360 for his two chosen charities.
Sam said: “It feels great that people who don’t even know me have supported us.”
To support Sam’s fundraising, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Sam-Brown160