As children of the Why Don’t You generation, my wife and I are pretty keen on the notion that our kids should make time to enjoy the outdoors and enjoy a range of different experiences when the time allows – especially during the long break from school that the summer holidays allow.
Indeed, my wife is such a proponent of this that she even runs her own successful blog – Get Out and About – which is directly aimed at encouraging families to leave the house and enjoy the manifold experiences to be had across the UK and, for that matter, the rest of the world (her / our National Trust A – Z Challenge was a minor twitter hit throughout 2014!)
Thankfully, both of our sons fully embrace the idea. My youngest divides his time between a football pitch, rugby pitch and tennis court during most weeks of the year while my eldest son, when not treading the boards (a budding actor, you see), is constantly thinking up new experiences that he can give a try.
At the end of 2014 my dad was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. Whilst it’s always a shock to the system of any family when a loved one is hit by an illness, particularly one of those ‘C’ ones, for children it can be be all the more traumatic. As far as my children were concerned we were all, grandparents included, somewhat indestructible; constants in their lives always on hand to help with the school run or to cheer from the touchline or, often, to spoil them with sweets and other assorted treats. We made the decision to keep them informed, rather than overly coddle them on the situation, my dad’s prognosis was reasonably good and we decided that they ought to know that his situation was serious but that he was in good hands and would hopefully make a full recovery. But serious, as I say, nonetheless. To our great relief, my dad’s operation was a success and, despite a number of months recuperating, he has made a fairly remarkable recovery to full health. But the episode had had an effect on my kids; in particular my eldest son, Sam, aged 12. I won’t explain why because I’d encourage you to read it in his own words on the link below as he’ll elucidate a lot better than me. Suffice to say, however, that the whole business made Sam come to a decision: that he wanted to do something for those who might not be as fortunate as his granddad.
The Spirit of Why Don’t You / Get Out & About
With six weeks of summer holiday fun in which to look forward, Sam decided that, rather than contemplate the X-Box hours he could enjoy or the TV he could watch, he was going to get out, on his bike and ride around Cardiff to raise some money and awareness about Prostate Cancer. His other grandfather, Boppy Howard – a retired police inspector, professional grandparent and generally superfit bike enthusiast, was recruited to the task with the mission being to ride 70 miles in one week around the streets, parks and lanes of Cardiff City. 10 miles a day, every day for a week. The plan was to set up a Just Giving page and try to raise a few pounds to go towards the Men United / Prostate Cancer UK campaign.
We tentatively set a target of £500.00 to raise, and in truth, if Sam managed to get even half of that it would have been a job well done. So when we saw that the £500 barrier had been smashed by Day 2 of the ride, it was, to say the least, beyond expectation. Each day, Sam and Howard, dressed for the occasion in official riding tops kindly sent from Prostate Cancer UK headquarters, took to their bikes and hit the road, taking in the landmarks of the city and turning heads along the way; generating increasing interest and raising yet more money to the cause.
Their routes took them along the Taff Trail, to Llandaff, Heath, Rhiwbina and Roath Park. They stopped off alongside the Millennium Stadium, Swalec stadium and Cardiff Castle. Took the time to get a selfie by City Hall and make a few laps of Cardiff Bay and the Barrage. And by the time they arrived home in Whitchurch on Sunday, 70 miles and a lot of satisfaction later, there we were; proud parents, grandparents and brother, to greet them both in a fanfare of glitter (and kisses from his mum!) and raft of well wishes from friends, family and social media alike.
By the end of the week, Sam and Howard, slightly weary of leg but as full of enthusiasm as they possessed on day 1, had raised a staggering £1400!.
To read Sam’s story of why he did it and how the week unfolded, and to offer any donation that you may wish to add (if you are so inclined) then please take a look here: Sam’s Ride For Prostate Cancer