Deputy Headteacher takes on 90 mile cycle for Kieran

Deputy Headteacher, Catherine Haslam, takes on the 90 mile Cyclone Cycling Challenge in memory of pupil Kieran Maxwell. Catherine will be taking on the challenge and raising funds for CLIC Sargent, after Kieran and his family were supported during his treatment for Ewing's Sarcoma.

Deputy Headteacher takes on 90 mile cycle for Kieran

Catherine said "I embarked on the Coast to Castle cycle this time last year when I got a small group together to help me raise money and awareness for a very special young man.

"When one of my pupils was diagnosed with brain cancer I was invited to the Teacher Day at the RVI. The main aim of this day was to give teachers and schools better information and strengthen their understanding on how a pupil manages this horrendous ordeal and how we can support them and their families fully."

"During the day I met Kieran Maxwell and his mum Nicola from Darlington. Kieran had been diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. He had undergone several bouts of chemo and had ultimately had to have an amputation of his lower leg. The cancer returned in 2016 and we wanted to raise money urgently."

Time for a challenge

"Having not been on a bike since I was 16 (a long time ago!) - I bought a bike via the Cycle to Work scheme and began training for the 275 miles we had committed to ride.

"I kept in contact with Kieran and his family who were very appreciative of the mission we had set ourselves. 

"Not going to tell a lie- this was one of the hardest things I had ever done. I have run the Great North Run five times for various charities and causes but nothing had prepared me for the arduous task that this route challenged me on.

"Sadly and rather poignantly- Kieran passed away on the first night of our three-day cycle. I believe he was with us all the way.

"We raised a huge amount of money for The Kieran Maxwell Fund and I made a promise to Kieran’s memory and his family that I will continue to do as much as possible to do just that.

"Since this, at the school where I work, we have been hit with three more tragic issues connected to cancer. Staff whose children (one a 4-month-old baby) has just been diagnosed with this dreadful disease and also a pupil in my Year 7 class whose cancer has just sadly returned. 

Now the crunch bit

"Unfortunately at Christmas 2017, I suffered heart failure where my heart stopped for a total of 37 seconds.

"This resulted in surgery whereby I had to have a pacemaker fitted in January. The first operation was unsuccessful and unfortunately, I had to go back into hospital in March for a second op.

"I’m very happy (and fortunate!) to be able to say that my recovery is going well and at the weekend I did my first bike ride out - where I managed a respectable 36 miles.

"Over the coming months, I have pledged to raise as much money as possible for Kieran’s fund and for various childrens cancer charities as well as the British Heart Foundation. Both charities mean so much to me and I know that Kieran, my colleagues and the other pupils affected by cancer will be with me all the way. So much so that I have pushed myself to tackle the 90 mile route of the original 64!

"Wish me luck!"

Find out more

If you would like to take on the Cyclone Challenge for CLIC Sargent, you can find out about events in your area here

For more information about this event or other cycling events in your area, please contact the Sports and Challenges team on 0845 602 4770 or email