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Weʼre raising £1,000 to VENTOUX FOR LENA - 28 August - My cycling challenge against Lyme Disease

Bédoin, France
10 days to go

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Story

VENTOUX FOR LENA

My cycling challenge against Lyme Disease

On 28 August, I will undertake a “pilgrimage” to Mont Ventoux, to celebrate 30 years of cycling. My passion for cycling started there, when I climbed it for the first time as a teenager.

Beyond the solitary effort and the personal significance, I won’t feel alone. Together we will help my friend Lena, a single mom of a 7 year old daughter, in her fight against Lyme and Cancer. We will also contribute to raise awareness on Lyme Disease through the LDA charity.

On this Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ventouxsportspage/ ), I will share some aspects of my preparation, Mont Ventoux stories, pictures and reports of my ride through lavander fields and the dramatic lunar windy lanscapes of the mountain top. On the slopes of the “Provence Giant”, cycling greatest champions have made the history of Tour de France, while others have fallen in disgrace, some at the peril of their lives. As to remind us that life is precious and fragile.

How will funds be split ?

2/3 for Lena and 1/3 for Lyme Disease Action (LDA).

But you can send me a personal message to allocate your contribution split differently.

Lena's Story

Lena is a single mum. She contracted Lyme disease when she was pregnant 7 years ago but only got diagnosed 3 years later. Her health deteriorated seriously. She also contracted Cancer more recently. She had to relocate closer to her mother, to receive medical treatment and receive help for her and her daughter. She almost lost everything of her previous life. In recent years, she could not work, due to symptoms and intense therapy. She lives in Ukraine and has not private insurance. This means financial issues to afford the best medical treatments. When we last spoke together she confessed that Lyme symptoms were affecting her more than Cancer. Lena suffers also from regular fevers triggered on purpose by immuno-therapy treatments. Lena is proud and independent, she is not used to ask help. She does not want to ask close friends in fear they contribute more than they can afford. But she was delighted to confess to me when I exposed the “Ventoux for Lena” challenge. We work together and she validated this page. Lena wishes to remain anonymous.

Where will Lena funds go ?

To a new course of stem cell therapy and other expensive medical products Lena’s doctors need to treat her Lyme and Cancer case. Last summer, Lena had a first treatment that made a positive change and this new one is scheduled imminently. I will pay funds directly to Lena's bank account or to the hospital accounts she gives me.

What is Lyme Disease ?

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium and can be transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected tick. It is difficult to diagnose and to cure. Symptoms concern the whole body and are seriously handicapping.

I invite you to read these key facts https://www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk/about-lyme/ .

About the LDA charity

Lyme Disease Action is a U.K. registered charity active in raising awareness, preventing and funding research about Lyme disease. LDA staff are volunteers so money donated will all go to the charitable aims of LDA. To know more about LDA activities, please visit www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk .

Where will LDA funds go ?

The share of funds I will raise for LDA will go to the Spotlight project, sponsored by LDA. Spotlight is a Royal College of General Practitioners project focusing on developing clinical skills and expertise in primary care clinicians, aiming at improving early recognition, diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. Funds will go directly here: https://mydonate.bt.com/events/spotlightproject.

Why a personal fundraise ?

It is not technically possible to raise money for an official charity and for a personal cause at the same time on a usual fundraising website. I talked to LDA who advised me to set up a personal initiative. LDA kindly offered me support material to raise awareness on Lyme. I decided they should be rewarded too ! Great thanks to Geraldine from LDA.

About the cycling challenge

I am a native of Provence (France), living in Scotland. As a teenager sometime around the year 1988, I took part in a rather odd sports event, but fairly common in sports circles of my town of Apt in the South of France. Some members of the local Tennis Club decided to take the challenge to climb nearby Mont Ventoux as a social event! Although I had “spent my youth” on a bicycle (as says my mum), I was not a serious cyclist at the time. So, I trained all month of August, with good discipline, because I feared the slopes of this mountain and its “legends”. On the morning of the Big Day, the town judo coach and other sportsmen did not show-up for lack of training ! I ended-up doing the climb from Bedoin with a 40 year old colleague of my dad, whom was a keen cyclist and an even greater tennis player. As a skinny and light teenager, reasonably trained, I had no merit to finish the climb with a comfortable margin on my colleague. My dad reported him shouting “Putain! Ton fils!” in a characteristic non-southern accent, when passing by below Chalet-Reynard ! From that day, I threw away my tennis racket to adopt the cycling sport. The next summer, I was doing my first cycling race – the Saignon Grand Prix – on a Velo Club d’Apt licence. I have raced in hundred of road cycling competitions as a modest level amateur, but I haven’t climbed the Ventoux since I was twenty. I have the opportunity to be near Apt at end of this month. This time, I decided I would pack my road bike in the plane for a pilgrimage to the big mountain.

The trip is also a personal way to honour the memory of my brother who died of cancer 25 years ago at a young age. He was passing me bottles of water on the roadside of the Ventoux climbs.

My provisional cycle route and the "stage" profile is described below and on Strava at https://www.strava.com/routes/14423919 . 121 km, 2850m elevation gain and about 5 hours moving time to complete. Date: 28 August 2018.

There are alternatives. The route could change depending on wind and weather forecast, the heat and family logistics. I will try to make it as much a sports challenge as possible, but I was back on the bike only three months ago after a total four year break and I am afraid of the heat. Here is one promise: I will ride a 39x27 gear otherwise I would not call it road cycling, just mountain biking, and any sportsman can do it... As it stands, the profile is similar to many Tour de France stages. Anyway, I put more emphasis on having a quality ride and a good social day with my followers than on physical performance.

All with Lena and LDA !

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Laurent SCHIRRER

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    21 days ago

    Laurent SCHIRRER started crowdfunding

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    Page last updated on: 8/17/2018 4:29 PM

    Supporters

    7

    • Etienne Décossin

      Etienne Décossin

      Aug 17, 2018

      Bravo pour cette initiative et bon courage pour la grimpette !

      £20.00

    • D&O

      D&O

      Aug 10, 2018

      Good luck with the training and all the best!

      £10.00

    • SImon Stromberg

      SImon Stromberg

      Aug 8, 2018

      Great cause

      £20.00

    • Cecile  et Fred

      Cecile et Fred

      Aug 8, 2018

      Beau challenge mon frère ! Et pour une bonne cause. Dommage que je ne puisse pas te soutenir le jour J. Bonne course jusqu'au bout pour Lena, François et tous ceux qui se battent contre la maladie...

    • Anja, Mike & Lukss

      Anja, Mike & Lukss

      Aug 7, 2018

      Good luck and keep raising!!

      £20.00

    • Anonymous

      Anonymous

      Aug 7, 2018

      Je suis la mère de Djibril. Bon courage à vous et à Lena

    • Djibril Diakite

      Djibril Diakite

      Aug 6, 2018

      Go Laurent!!! :)

      £50.00

    Laurent SCHIRRER

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    About the fundraiser
    Laurent SCHIRRER

    Laurent SCHIRRER

    Bédoin, France

    Laurent, 48, consultant in the energy sector. Former amateur racing cyclist until 2014. Alpe d'Huez in 56 minutes in 2004 is my best reference. Competition skiing (5th at Scottish ski-cross champs 2016) and boxing coach. I had a 4 year cycling break, train again since April 2018.

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