Nurse Caroline conquers the French Alps for charity


Nurse Caroline gave a presentation to Middle School students recently about an amazing personal challenge she completed. She was one of 68 amateur cyclists who took on the epic challenge of a 5-day, sponsored cycle ride in the French Alps on a route that covered 457 km and a vertical climb of 13,730 meters in total. That’s the equivalent of 4,880 meters higher than Mt. Everest! The aim was to raise money for Le Cure Research Fellowship at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London to support their pioneering cancer treatments and to help create a number of Research Fellowships to carry out innovative research. The event began in 2014, and in its first year raised enough money (over £133,000) to create a “Le Cure de France” Research Fellowship at the Royal Marsden.  The Le Cure Research Fellow will carry out a study to identify cancer DNA in patients’ blood.

In her own words: “Now that the dust has settled, and I can just about sit on a bike again, it is time to reflect on the experience:  The first day alone, climbing 50km then DESCENDING another 50 terrifying km, took me around 10 hours, as the least experienced cyclist of the 68 strong group!

 After four days, 440km, and 12,500 vertical metres, we finished “Le Cure de France” at the top of the tortuous Alpe D’Huez, with its 21 gruelling hairpin bends. Just before reaching the top on this final day, I had literally hit the sporting “wall” – another first experience for me.

Andrew The accompanying photo is from these final moments; and Andrew Gibson (the St. John’s alumnus who got me into this situation in the first place), had cycled back down the final kilometres to motivate me to finish the job, exhausted himself. A very humbling moment for me, a true friend for life.

 By supporting “Le Cure de France”, our supporters have invested in The Royal Marsden’s groundbreaking research. Their contributions of nearly €400,000 are directly supporting a clinical research fellow, Dr. Charlotte Fribbens. The research is focusing on DNA markers, so in the future simple blood tests can evaluate treatment more frequently, and personalised therapies then applied before the disease becomes life-threatening. DIOLCH YN FAWR”

Congratulations to nurse Caroline!