Harrogate man to ride 100 miles a day to raise funds for Archie's Army
Brave 70-year-old Harrogate man Bill Hitchcock is setting off on an epic cycle from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise funds for Archie’s Army, the charity inspired by a young boy from Harrogate who suffers with life-threatening condition Diamond Blackfan Anaemia.
The Deloitte Ride Across Britain will start this Saturday taking place over nine days and Bill has set himself the goal of covering more than 100 miles a day.
Bill said: "I’m in the fortunate position of being able to enjoy good health, I’ve enjoyed racing in triathlons from the age of 40 and have represented my country in European and world championships.
"I completed my last Ironman in 2016 at the age of 65.
"During this, my 70th year I’ve been preparing to complete the ride across Britain from lands end to John O’Groat, a journey of over 900 miles to be completed in 9 days.
"The thought of the monthly journey that Archie and his family have to make for his continuing treatment provides me with a huge incentive to complete the ride."
Harrogate mum Vicky Flintoft said she was immensely grateful to Bill for his efforts to support Archie's Army, which raise funds for DBA.
Vicky said: "It's certainly one heck of a challenge! Bill has very kindly agreed to do it as sponsorship for Archie's Army and we couldn't be more grateful.
"This is an epic challenge which will require both physical and mental willpower but our little Archie has agreed to send Bill some strength to help him on his way."
Proud parents Vicky and Dean have faced many setbacks since the day their beautiful baby boy Archie had to be taken to the doctors at just ten weeks old.
They, like many others, had never heard of DBA at that point.
Since then, Archie has had to endure regular blood transfusions because his bone marrow fails to produce red blood cells.
But this, in turn, can lead to a build-up of iron in his body that could prove fatal if it isn’t treated.
To break the iron down Archie has to have a needle inserted in to his leg every night which is attached to a pump.
This provides medication to him overnight whilst he sleeps. Although this breaks the iron down, it hurts and also causes complications of its own.
As well as being an extremely painful process, it, too, has the side-effect of causing adrenal insufficiency as a result of the steroid therapy, which again, can be life-threatening.
The inspirational Archie may be known for his happy smiles but, thanks to Archie’s Army, set up by Vicky, dad Dean and daughter Holly three years ago to organise fundraising events for DBA UK, he has become a figurehead for spreading awareness of a condition so rare it is estimated it affects just 125 people in the UK.
Vicky said: “To look at Archie you would never know there was anything wrong with him.
“Before a transfusion he is unsettled and bad tempered, but once he has that good blood in him the happy, lively little boy who loves cuddles is back. Blood changes everything for Archie - It is literally his lifeline.”
The treatments and transfusions, medical investigations and tests, hospital visits and scans are on-going but hope also lives on.
Vicky said: “It hasn’t been easy, we’ve had some huge blows but some great positives, too. I’ve learnt to roll with the curve balls that DBA throws at us.
Vicky Flintoft said she was immensely grateful to Bill Hitchcock for donating to Archie's Army in this weekend The Ride Across Britain.
She said: "Good luck Bill....we are cheering you on from home and look forward to tracking your ride.
"To support Bill and Archie's Army, sponsorship can be paid via the below go fund me at www.uk.gofundme.com/ or via The Red Box /Post office on King Edwards Drive, Harrogate where the amazing team there will have sponsor forms, too."
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