Researchers ride for victory.
Byline: FIONNUALA BOURKE Commercial Editor email@example.com
A TEAM of leading blood cancer researchers from the University of Birmingham are swapping their lab coats for lycra as they gear up for the Birmingham Bikeathon - the city's largest charity cycle ride.
The eight researchers will join over 1,000 cyclists for the event on Sunday, July 10, and will be raising funds for Bloodwise, the blood cancer charity that invests PS19 million in 31 different research projects and clinical drugs trials in the city.
It is hoped that PS100,000 will be raised for the charity.
The Birmingham Bikeathon, supported by Birmingham City Council and now in its third year, will see riders choose one of the three routes - 26 miles, 52 miles or 100 miles - starting and finishing at Cannon Hill Park.
Birmingham is central to the lifesaving work carried out by Bloodwise, which is aiming to identify new targets and test new drugs for the selective treatment for different types of leukaemia.
Angelo Agathanggelou, a member of the University team, who is funded by the charity, said: "Our main focus at the moment is to find ways of killing leukaemia cells that are resistant to chemotherapy.
"I wanted to participate in the Birmingham Bikeathon to raise money for a worthy cause and to increase awareness of Bloodwise and all the excellent work that they do funding research and supporting patients."
Hoping to tackle the Birmingham Bikeathon for the first time is Bromsgrove resident Toby Gosnall, who was diagnosed with MGUS - a precursor condition to blood cancer myeloma - in late 2013.
The 45-year-old was placed on the watch and wait programme for a number of years before undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and then a stem cell transplant in January this year.
He will discover in the coming weeks whether the transplant has been successful and put him into remission.
He said: "You can have MGUS for 20 years and it not affect you too much but, unfortunately, mine morphed into myeloma quite rapidly. "I am used to maintaining a good level of fitness but after the stem cell transplant I could only manage two press-ups and got tired very quickly. However, my fitness has now started to return and I feel ready to tackle the 52-mile cycle route in Birmingham.
"As a blood cancer patient it's uplifting to know you're going to be part of an event where the money raised will be invested back into so many life-saving projects right here in Birmingham."
Also joining the event are researchers Marco Saponaro, Martin Higgs, Rachel Jones, Ulrich Gunther and participants from the inaugural Birmingham Bikeathon in 2014 - Paul Murray, Clive Stubbs and Pamela Kearns.
| To sign up visit www.bloodwise.org.uk/birminghambikeathon