A 43-year-old diabetic has proved she can do it all by cycling 500 miles and raising £10,000 for charity while isolating, and doing a full working week from home amid a knockout five months of chemotherapy for breast cancer.
Caroline Fox, from Kingswood Road, Brixton Hill, assembled a group of 23 friends and colleagues – calling themselves The Team That Gives A Fox – who raised more cash for Cancer Research than any of the 370 other squads in its September 300-mile challenge.
And after some of those other cyclists stopped at the target distance, the head of marketing for Whitley Neill Gin kept going and going on her exercise bike to reach 500 miles in the allotted 30 days.
She discovers today (Friday) what kind of surgery she will need for her cancer, as she nurses her aching limbs, but she is already thinking about her next challenge – as well as planning a first skiing treat in the winter.
Caroline, who was diagnosed a few days into lockdown after finding a lump, has so far had five months of chemo – which can last up to eight hours a day every Friday. “I was lucky because my treatment has not been impacted by Covid,” she said.
“My boss said take off however much time you need and I replied ‘I can’t go anywhere or do anything – so I’ll carry on.”
She was told her hair would fall out during chemo – but decided not to wait and partner Simon, a firefighter she met on a cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats eight years ago, shaved it off in two stages.
She recalled: “First, it was a worry to find a lump and then the tests are concerning.
“When you get a short call saying you need to come in tomorrow, amidst a pandemic, you know what the result has been. I went for a long walk in Brockwell Park knowing. That was the worst time.
“To make it worse, there was the practicalities with Covid.”
She and Simon have had to isolate since then. “The London Fire Brigade have been very supportive,” she said. “We are very grateful.
“When we decided to do the challenge, we got all our gym kit out of storage.
“Having the team around me really spurred me on. There are emergency staff, medics and teachers. One friend had to buy a bike as she had not cycled in 15 years. One could not find a bike to buy so ran 150km.
“I started on 12 miles a day – it was good to get a sweat on – then increased gradually to 20 until I passed 500.
“You have to listen to your body and take a break if it says so.
“The initial target was £500 so we are pretty pleased with how we’ve done.”
To donate, go to: https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/team-fox-cycle-300
Pictured top: Caroline and partner Simon McLoughlin
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