June 23, 2014, by Emma Thorne
Three peaks, three wheels, three days…
On Friday July 4, wheelchair user Will Blanche will embark on an epic endeavour to complete a 3 Peaks Challenge on a custom built three wheel hand bike. He will be scaling the steep gradients of Ben Nevis in Scotland, Snowdonia in Wales and Skiddaw in the Lake District to raise money for the Jessica Hope Foundation, a charity which supports vital research into rare brain cancers in children and young people undertaken by The University of Nottingham’s Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre (CBTRC). Here, Will talks about the motivation behind this Herculean task.
In August 2013 I came up with the crazy idea of tackling a 3 Peaks Challenge on a hand bike to raise money for The Jessica Hope Foundation in memory of Jessica Hope Gauntley, who died at the age of 16 from brain cancer.
On the 4th July 10 months later, the length of time that Jess lived with this horrible disease, I will start what will be a monumental task. But nothing compared with what Jess and other children and young people with brain cancer go through.
Training for this challenge has been full on and has encompassed strength and conditioning training in the gym and weekends out on the hand bike in the Peak District, Lake District and Wales as well as lots of miles on the roads.
Training has gone extremely well and has included trips to Snowdon and Skiddaw, which are 2 of the mountains we will climb on the challenge. Although I did not go to the peaks of Snowdon & Skiddaw in training, I’m saving that until the challenge, training on these mountains has provided a valuable learning experience for me and the team in understanding the sort of issues we will have to overcome during each of the climbs over the 3 days. Although we have not trained on Ben Nevis the biggest mountain in the UK which makes me slightly nervous, I know I have a great team around me and I am extremely confident that we can complete this 3 day challenge.
The support I have received from the public whilst out training has been overwhelming so many people have stopped me to ask what I am doing and have been really generous by donating to the funding page.
The planning of such an event has been a huge task, there are so many things to organise accommodation, transport and clothing are just some of the major things which have needed organising. I have had great support from members of the team who have helped organise these aspects enabling me to focus on my training. Sponsorship has been secured for a minibus thanks to, Bradgate Rotary Club & Stanford Arms, Groby A van which will transport the hand bike and the team’s kit bags and clothing sponsored by Kev’s Van Rentals Loughborough. The hand bike which costs £6,000 has been donated by RGK wheelchairs. Without these kind offers of sponsorship there is no way we would have been able to do this challenge without it costing a small fortune. I am extremely grateful to these companies who have provided support.
The BBC, have followed this from the start of my training and will be joining me on the 3 Peaks Challenge as they are filming this for a documentary which will hopefully be shown in the Autumn.
The Jessica Hope Foundation was created as brain tumours are grossly under funded by the big cancer charities and pharma – only receiving 2% of national funding but 500 Children and Teenagers in the UK are diagnosed each year with Brain Cancer. One child dies every 3 days from Brain Cancer and it is the biggest killer in children and young adults.
Follow the journey
The money raised by doing The Jessica Hope Challenge: 3 Peaks, 3 Wheels, 3 Days will go towards funding research at the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre; raising awareness about brain tumours in children and young people and funding facilities, equipment and activities to brighten the
lives of young people living with cancer and their families.
It would be great is if everyone on facebook could follow me during the 3 days as we will be providing regular updates https://www.facebook.com/3peaks3wheels3days Tweeters can also follow @3peaks3wheels.
If you would like to donate you can do online by visiting the my donate page
https://mydonate.bt.com/events/3peaks3wheels3days/110562 or alternatively there are sponsorship forms where people can donate.