Posted on Friday 2 August 2019

in News

Grandads take on 100-mile cycling challenge after grandson’s gruelling cancer journey

TWO grandads from Braunton and Barnstaple in Devon are getting on their bikes to take on a 100-mile cycling challenge to raise vital funds for a charity that supported their four-year-old grandson when he was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

Seth Holder's grandads and uncle are taking on RideLondon to raise vital funds for CLIC Sargent.

Gary Holder and Steve Turner, both in their sixties, are taking on Prudential RideLondon this Sunday with their grandson Seth Holder’s uncle, Paul Homewood, to fundraise for CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people.

Seth was just three years old last summer when his mum and dad, Leanne and Lee Holder, from Barnstaple, first noticed something wasn’t right. What followed was open heart surgery, losing a kidney for Seth and a devastating cancer journey for the whole family when Seth was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumour – a type of kidney cancer.

Mum Leanne said: “We first noticed something wasn’t right about two weeks before Seth was diagnosed. He was getting on and off temperatures and then he went pale and off of his food and so we took him to the GP. She didn’t take any risks and sent us straight to the children’s ward to get tests as she could feel his liver was enlarged from pressure from his kidney.

“The hospital did an ultrasound that afternoon and discovered a tumour. In that moment we were devastated and our whole world fell apart.”

The family were sent to Bristol for further tests and treatment and to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London for surgery.

“Seth had open heart surgery for eight hours and had to go on a heart bypass to remove the tumour his kidney. It was so awful. They said there was a chance he might not make it and it was horrible – waiting those eight hours – but we trusted them 100 per cent.

“Seth lost his hair and his mobility went to pieces. His legs would ache from chemo and he would just be exhausted as it would just wipe him out.”

Leanne said the impact of Seth’s cancer on the family was huge.

“We had to travel two hours for Seth’s treatment when he was at hospital in Bristol – and over an hour to get to Exeter too. It was a lot of travelling and the journeys used to take it out of him – but it’s something you get used to.

“The financial impact of petrol and food was huge. We had to pay for breakfasts, all lunches and teas in hospital – which all added up.”

During Seth’s treatment, the Holder family were supported by CLIC Sargent. The charity provided free accommodation at Sam’s House, a home from home for the family close to where Seth was treated in Bristol and social workers to support the family.

“We stayed there for more than two months, we were so thankful. It meant we had somewhere that while Seth in hospital, we were able to wash our clothes, Lee would be able to cook tea and when Seth didn’t need to stay overnight in the hospital, we could be together as a family and have normality. It made such a difference.

“Our experience would have been completely different without CLIC Sargent. We would have had so many more stresses, worrying about money. CLIC Sargent help take those stresses off of you.”

We are not regular cyclists, only two 60-year-old grandads and an uncle who want to do their bit."

Leanne said cancer put ‘everything into perspective’ for the family.

“The little things don’t matter anymore. It definitely makes you do things you might not do because you never know what might happen. It makes you live for the moment.”

Since Seth’s experience, both families, grandads and his uncle have raised more than £10,000 for CLIC Sargent, and are aiming to raise another £2,000 this Sunday at RideLondon.

Grandad Gary said: “We are not regular cyclists, only two 60-year-old grandads and an uncle who want to do their bit. We set up a Just Giving page to give something back. We know 100 miles is not going to be easy, but any donation will be gratefully received.”

Seth, who is now in remission and starting school in September, will be at the event to cheer on his grandads and uncle alongside the whole family and CLIC Sargent.

Sarah Manion, CLIC Sargent’s Sports and Challenge Events Manager, said: “We are so grateful for the incredible fundraising efforts of Gary, Paul and Steve. Their dedication and commitments to ride 100 miles will mean CLIC Sargent can be there for more children and families facing cancer. We will be there on the day cheering them all the way to the finish line!”

To sponsor Team Seth’s challenge, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sethssargents

Notes to editors

For more information about CLIC Sargent please contact Jessica Rees at jessica.rees@clicsargent.org.uk or call 0117 311 2659.

About cancer in children and young people

Today, 12 more children and young people in the UK will hear the devastating news that they have cancer. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.

About CLIC Sargent

When cancer strikes young lives CLIC Sargent helps families limit the damage cancer causes beyond their health. CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading charity for young cancer patients and their families. We provide specialist support, to help and guide each young cancer patient and their family. We will fight tirelessly for them, individually, locally and nationally. For more information, visit www.clicsargent.org.uk

Note to sub editors

Please note that the name ‘CLIC Sargent’ should not be abbreviated to CLIC, and that the word ‘CLIC’ should always appear in capitals, as above.

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