A couple from Cardiff cycled from London to Paris and raised more than £5,000 for CLIC Sargent after being supported by the charity when their teenage son was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
A CLIC Sargent Social Worker gave teachers Jane and Tony Setchfield vital practical and emotional support after their son Jacob, then aged 16, was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Jane said cycling from London to Paris for CLIC Sargent turned out to be “absolutely fantastic.”
“Everyone was doing the cycle ride for the charity and most of them had a personal connection with it,” Jane said. “You bond with a group of people having that shared experience.
“My husband and I had also both turned 50 last year, and we wanted to do something, so we decided to do the London to Paris ride and raise money for CLIC Sargent. Having someone else doing the ride too keeps you motivated,” she added.
The Setchfields are both regular cyclists in Cardiff, but they do not usually cycle longer distances. Before the London to Paris challenge in September, they did some training rides with distance cyclist friends to get themselves ready.
“It was great to have Kerry from CLIC Sargent there on the ride, because every night she stood up and talked to us about what the money would be used for. It was very emotional.”
Jane and Tony’s son Jacob was diagnosed with a brain tumour in January 2009, after he started having problems with his balance and co-ordination. He had been suffering from headaches and feeling sick, and they had taken him to the GP a few times over about four months.
“Then one morning, I will never forget it, the school phoned up and said they could not send him home - because he could not walk,” Jane said.
“I went to pick him up and took him straight to the doctor’s. The doctor said that the back of one of his eyes looked a bit unusual and we should go to the optician. The optician sent us to the hospital, Jacob had a brain scan, and we were told he had a tumour.
“It was a terrible shock. That was on the Wednesday and he had surgery on the Friday, then we waited ten days and we were told that he didn’t need any more treatment, as they had managed to remove all of it,” Jane said.
The tumour was in the cerebellum, which controls movement and balance. Jacob has been left with some minor co-ordination problems, and he had an infection after his surgery which kept him in hospital for five weeks.
That was when the family met Jane Cope, CLIC Sargent Specialist Nurse and Key Worker at the Heath Hospital in Cardiff. Jane gave the whole family emotional and practical support.
“She is a good person to have at the end of a text message,” said Jane. She provided reassurance and helped with practical matters like getting Jacob extra time to take his GCSEs and A levels.
Jacob also joined a support group for teenagers with brain tumours run by CLIC Sargent and Latch, the Welsh children’s charity which supports children receiving cancer treatment at the Children’s Hospital for Wales in Cardiff.
Jane arranged for him to take part in climbing, sailing, cookery and other activities. She also arranged for Jacob to have a laptop, which has helped him keep in touch with friends and with his studies. He is now studying at Abersytwyth University.
If you are interested in taking on this iconic cycling challenge, CLIC Sargent has its very own event in July 2013, seeing in the 100th Tour de France - the Paris to London Centenary Cycle.