Mark Tyler with his mother Angela
An intrepid cyclist is set to cycle 60km through the steep hills of the South Downs with no gears in support of St Barnabas House in Worthing.
Mark Tyler, aged 54, has been inspired to take part in the charity’s annual off-road cycling event Hit the Downs Mountain Bike (MTB) ride after witnessing the specialist care his mother, Angela Tyler, is currently receiving from the hospice.
Angela, aged 79, was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in September 2018.
“It’s a nasty disease which quickly reduces lung capacity and suffocates the victim overtime. Since mum was diagnosed, it’s been all hands to the pump to make sure she gets the care and support she needs. My dad has MS so what he can do to help is limited by his condition.”
Angela has recently returned home from a week’s nurse-led respite care at St Barnabas House which Mark said was “like a holiday for mum and also significantly reduced the care workload for the rest of the family.”
“The nurses at St Barnabas are fantastic, nothing is too much trouble. Mum made full use of the facilities with jacuzzi baths and massage. Her appetite isn’t what it used to be, but she ate more during her stay than she does at home which has given her the energy she needs to fight this horribly debilitating disease.”
Mark will be saddling up on Sunday 12 May as part of the cycling event, which last year saw 450 riders take part. However unlike other fundraisers, Mark has chosen to make the 60km route even more poignant by completing it without any gears. He explained:
“The steep inclines of the South Downs will in some small way represent the struggle my mum has to just get up from bed to go to the bathroom.”
“We have no idea how long mum has left with us. Every day is precious. She’s a legend.”
Mark has raised over £1,000 in sponsorship for St Barnabas House, with friends and family members leaving comments such as “Only my favourite cousin would be mad enough to do this ride on a single-speed bike!”