Doncaster dad's epic 500 mile ride for charity

A Doncaster dad-of-two got on his bike to cycle 500 miles across Europe to raise money and awareness of the rare disease that affects his friend's son.

Thursday, 11th August 2016, 12:46 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th August 2016, 1:49 pm
Cyclists who rode 500 miles across Europe for charity.

Leonardo Devlin, aged four, from Bedford, was diagnosed with the life limiting Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in 2014 – a muscle degeneration condition which affects thousands of boys across the UK.

Town Moor resident Jon Tuffrey, aged 40, joined Loonardo’s dad, John, and a group of other friends from across the UK to complete the MakeTime500 cycle ride for the charity Harrison’s Fund.

They set off from London on July 28 and headed to Paris before finishing in Dieppe on August 1.

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The team’s initial target was to raise £8000 but they have already smashed that figure and raised more than £11, 000.

Jon added: “The challenge was the furthest any of us had cycled in one go so we knew it would be tough. There are a few injuries and a lot of climbing and hills – with a grand climb total of 19, 000 feet – but there were some lovely moments too when we were all working together as a group and things went really well. “We saw some great scenery and reaching the Palace of Versailles at the end of day three when one of our riders caught the celebratory champagne in the eye as we hit the cobbles and toppled off his bike. We were even lucky with the weather, with only a few drops of rain.”

Harrison’s Fund is named after a 10-year-old boy from Surrey who was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare genetic condition which affects all the muscles in the body, causing them to waste away. Harrison’s Fund’s goal is to get as much money as possible into the hands of the world’s best researchers, who are working to find a cure for Duchenne. The charity is currently funding 12 research projects in the US and the UK.

Leonardo’s dad John, aged 41, said: “After Leonardo’s diagnosis, the founder of Harrison’s Fund, Alex Smith, spent an hour talking to my wife, Marie, after initial contact on one of the Facebook groups. It was the first time we had a discussion with a person who could relate to what we were going through. It took six months before we could start to properly function again but it could have been longer without the extra help and advice that started with Alex. We met and spoke at various Duchenne events over the next year and we liked what we saw and heard; the more we looked into Duchenne and what people were trying to do the more we liked the lean charity approach and putting as much money as possible directly into research that could help Leo, Harrison and others with Duchenne.”

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