Tour challenge for cycling fan
MOST ardent cyclists harbour a secret desire to ride in the Tour de France.But for Ipswich woman Judith Gunion, that dream came half true when she was picked to ride the final stage of the tour for a special anniversary celebration.
By Jessica Nicholls
MOST ardent cyclists harbour a secret desire to ride in the Tour de France.
But for Ipswich woman Judith Gunion, that dream came half true when she was picked to ride the final stage of the tour for a special anniversary celebration.
And the money she raised by doing it will help the Evening Star's Raise the Roof campaign to build a £300,000 cancer education and information centre at Ipswich Hospital.
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The paper has teamed up with Cancer Campaign in Suffolk to raise the final £100,000 needed for the centre they have been aiming for since 1998.
Judith, who is an Evening Star sub-editor, was one of 10,000 people to be picked to ride the stage to mark the 100th anniversary of when the tour began.
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She raised £200, and is hoping to double that under a company-matching scheme.
She said: "I did not hear for months and then on the first day of the tour on July 5 the envelope arrived with Paris franking on it. I was absolutely ecstatic."
The route was around 35km and slightly different to the one that the real tour riders were doing – they went ten times round the Champs Elysee rather than once!
To begin with she was concerned that she might not be able to build up to a reasonable speed because of the amount of people, but she was proved wrong.
She said: "We managed to get to around 21mph. I heard a whirring sound and saw all these yellow jerseys coming past me and decided to see if I could hold on to them and I managed it.
"There was one long yellow line – it was an incredible feeling."
Judith's achievements are more so because just over two years ago she was being treated for breast cancer.
She kept riding throughout because it was the only thing that kept her going through that terrible time.
And she knows full well how important the cancer education and information centre will be.
She said: "No matter what you think you never expect anyone to tell you that you have cancer.
"I went on the web myself because I had access and because I know how to use it.
"But I know from some of the people I saw while I was having my treatment that they would not."
She said that the centre would be a good place for people to go where it is quiet to do your own research and where experts are on hand to help you out.
But it is not just for cancer patients as their families also suffer alongside them.
Judith said: "There is so much that your friends and family want to ask you but they don't know how to.
"They are going through the same thing as you but in a different way and they can't always find out from you what they want to know.
"A centre like this will be ideal."
N. Donations, made out to Raise the Roof should be sent to Geraldine Thompson, Editors Secretary, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or to CCIS Appeal, PO Box 100, Badingham, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP13 8NJ.
RAISE THE ROOF PANEL:
The cancer education and information centre will give all sectors of the community and not just cancer sufferers and their family, the chance to research into the disease.
Books and the internet will be available and it is hoped that trained professionals will also be stationed there to help out.
There will also be quiet places available for relatives or carers to be able to talk to consultants about the future for their loved ones and what the illness could involve.
The centre is also to help people learn about the varieties of the disease, how to avoid risks of developing cancer, information about self-examination and what to do if you suspect a problem.