A Challenge to All Cyclists!

Alex Bilmes
·3-min read
Photo credit: Tristan Fewings - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tristan Fewings - Getty Images

From Esquire

It’s not a competition (no, really, it’s not) but as the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic deepens and widens, we hear much, and rightly so, about its appalling effects on certain industries — hospitality, travel, the arts, high street retail — and less about the devastating impacts on certain others. (Glossy magazine publishing, anyone?) Among the worst-hit has been the charity sector.

The pandemic has not just forced the cancellation of Glastonbury — again — and the postponement of the James Bond film — again, again— and the closure of your local gastropub — yes, and your office and your kids’ school — it has also put paid to marathons and Tough Mudders and mountain climbs and all the rest of it. And with traditional fundraising events scuppered millions in revenue are lost.

Remember the good old days, when every other social media follower you vaguely knew and didn’t much like at university felt entitled to ask you to sponsor their holiday of a lifetime (sorry, charity paddle down the Zambezi) with all proceeds going towards the good cause of their choice? Irritating, perhaps, but in a world of shocking inequities, very necessary.

Duchenne UK is a British charity aiming to end Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a disease of almost inconceivable cruelty which afflicts mostly young boys, slowly robbing them of their ability to walk, then to move and, ultimately, to breathe. Most will die before they are 30. There is no cure.

Through its various fundraising activities Duchenne UK has raised more than £15 million, making it the largest funder of Duchenne research in the UK over the past five years. The research is focused on getting treatments to those affected now – as well as pushing for an effective treatment in the future. Duchenne UK connects leading researchers with industry, the NHS and patients to challenge every stage of drug development, from research to clinical trials to drug approval. Duchenne UK connects families with each other to create a network of mutual support and to pool resources, knowledge and experience.

By far the charity’s biggest and most lucrative fundraising event each year is the Duchenne Dash, a sponsored bike ride from London to Paris in 24 hours. In 2021, for reasons we need not go into, they have been forced to scramble. Their solution is neat and appealing.

Photo credit: *
Photo credit: *

The Duchenne Dash has switched locations to Goodwood, England’s most famous sporting estate, home to Glorious Goodwood and the Festival of Speed. It is on the Goodwood Motor Circuit where on 3 July 300 cyclists will attempt to cycle 40,000km, the circumference of the world, in 12 hours.

And you could be one of them. The Duchenne UK fundraisers are seeking participants for the Duchenne Around the World event, a unique opportunity to cycle an iconic racetrack while raising money for something that is not just a worthy cause, to use the charity boilerplate, but a matter of life and death.

Also, you know, it’ll get you out of the house. And we can all use a reason to do that right now.

To pre-register and find our more details about the event and Duchenne UK, go to dash.duchenneuk.org

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