Marathon bike ride for special cause

CYCLISTS from the Felixstowe area are teaming up with friends from Sweden to embark on a marathon bike ride to help a cause close to their hearts.Paul Johnson and Karl Thimblethorpe-Blodau decided to do the sponsored 2,000-mile ride to raise funds for a hospital working with sufferers of ulcerative-colitis after Karl's wife Louise was struck by the bowel disease.

CYCLISTS from the Felixstowe area are teaming up with friends from Sweden to embark on a marathon bike ride to help a cause close to their hearts.

Paul Johnson and Karl Thimblethorpe-Blodau decided to do the sponsored 2,000-mile ride to raise funds for a hospital working with sufferers of ulcerative-colitis after Karl's wife Louise was struck by the bowel disease.

They told another friend, ex-marine James Lee, who used to live in Felixstowe but now lives with his girlfriend in Sweden, and he enlisted two more friends.

Now the five are set to ride from Felixstowe to Gibraltar next month, a trip which is likely to take them about three weeks.


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Mr Thimblethorpe-Blodau, 28, of Kirton, said Louise, 34, had started to feel unwell about four years ago and at first doctors had thought it was irritable bowel syndrome.

After she got progressively worse, she was sent to St Mark's Hospital in Harrow, where ulcerative-colitis was diagnosed. She has since had a series of operations and had her large intestine removed.

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“Staff at the hospital have been brilliant and we wanted to give something back so we doing the ride for the St Mark's Hospital Foundation,” he said.

Mr Johnson, 28, of Trimley St Mary, said: “We chose Gibraltar because that part of Europe should be nice and warm still next month. We will be taking the back roads and if we find places of interest we may take a few detours - the target is just to get there in three weeks and it should be great fun.”

To sponsor the team, go to www.justgiving.com/uk2gib

Are you helping a charity for a special reason? Call the Newsdesk on 01473 324788 or email starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: Ulcerative-colitis

Ulcerative colitis causes the colon to become inflamed and in severe cases, painful sores may form on the lining of the colon.

Symptoms include bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain, a frequent need to go to the toilet and weight loss.

It is an unpredictable condition - symptoms can flare up and then go into remission for months or even years.

Around 100,000 people in the UK have the disease, which normally appears between the ages of 15 and 30.

There is no current cure though there are a number of successful treatments that can relieve and prevent symptoms, but in some cases a person may have to have surgery to remove the colon.

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