Dr Thomas Holdstock, a Control Engineer for Leamington Spa-based engineering firm Drive System Design (DSD), will be cycling 3200 miles from Los Angeles to New York over 32 days later this year. He will set off straight from Los Angeles airport on Thursday 27th September (which is Blood Cancer Awareness Month) with his return flight from New York booked for 28th October. With just a bike, tent, sleeping bag and minimal equipment this really promises to be an extraordinary solo challenge.
Thomas is taking these events on to support their 29-year-old colleague Lizzie Dean. Lizzie was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, a form of blood cancer, four years ago and has endured a gruelling period of treatment during that time. After relapsing for a second time after a stem cell transplant in the summer of 2016 her prospects looked very bleak but thankfully she was placed on a world first clinical trial, made available by funds raised for Cure Leukaemia, and is currently in remission. In July this year, Lizzie returned to work for DSD, working remotely for the time being, and met seven of her colleagues at the Centre for Clinical Haematology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham to wish them luck. Lizzie’s story was instrumental in helping Cure Leukaemia raise an additional £1m in 2017 to double the capacity of the Centre to allow more blood cancer patients access to pioneering treatments like those made available to Lizzie.
Speaking about her colleagues Lizzie said: “I’m so proud of my colleagues taking on such gruelling challenges to raise funds for the charity that means so much to me. I would not be here if it wasn’t for Cure Leukaemia and I am so thrilled to be back working for DSD despite the thousands of emails I have come back to! I hope they can raise substantial funds so that other patients can have another chance of life like I did.”
Cure Leukaemia CEO James McLaughlin said: “Lizzie’s story is truly inspirational and it is fantastic to see her colleagues at Drive System Design showing their support through two very challenging events. We have had a few fundraisers in recent years taking on the extraordinary on two wheels and Thomas will certainly be in this bracket with what he is undertaking. I am sure seeing the Centre, Lizzie and Donna will provide great motivation for all the DSD staff during their endeavours.”
Cure Leukaemia helps blood cancer patients to access pioneering drug and transplant treatments by funding a network of specialist research nurses across the UK. Without these nurses, to ensure patients are monitored and cared for, clinical trials of these new treatments would not run and patients, that have exhausted standard treatment options, would miss out on potentially lifesaving therapies. Every penny raised for Cure Leukaemia helps save lives and also hastens global progress towards the eradication of all forms of blood cancer.