Simon’s 4000-mile coastline cycle for cancer research

An epic challenge - Royal Marsden cancer patient Simon Aylett completes his inspirational 4000 mile cycle around Great Britain’s coastline raising £27,000 for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

Yesterday, Royal Marsden cancer patient Simon Aylett, 59, from Sussex, completed his inspirational 4000 mile cycle around the Great British coastline. Since setting off from his home in May of this year, Simon has spent an impressive 72 days in the saddle of his e-bike and has raised an incredible £27,000 for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. To celebrate his arrival back home in Rye and the completion of his challenge, Simon celebrated with family and friends at the pub.

The funds raised by Simon will support the work of the Oak Drug Development Unit where he is receiving treatment for prostate cancer. The unit is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world and is funded by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. The unit runs clinical trials testing newly discovered cancer drugs and currently treats almost 300 patients a year.

Hope at the Oak Drug Development Unit

Simon’s story

Simon was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012, but in 2017 he received the news that he had just 12 months of good health left. Determined to make the most of this time, he completed his first e-bike challenge in 2018; a 2,000 mile cycle across Europe from Rye to Syracuse in Sicily, raising thousands for charity in the process.

By 2019, he had undergone extensive treatment for prostate cancer including surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and hormone therapy. Unfortunately, the cancer became resistant, and he became quite unwell.

Then, in 2020, Simon was accepted onto a Phase 1 trial at the Oak Drug Development Unit. Currently his treatment is working well and has enabled Simon to spend time with his family and take on his coastline cycle challenge.

Simon Aylett with his daughter and granddaughter

After being told my prostate cancer had spread, I thought my cycle to Sicily would be my ‘Swansong Ride’ but, three years on, I’m still here due to the pioneering treatment I’ve received at The Royal Marsden.

This treatment means I’ve met my first granddaughter, spent more precious time with my family and have been able to complete this challenge to raise money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

- Simon Aylett

“I’ve been blown away by the kindness of so many”

“The trip, which came with lots of highs and lows, in a strange way has echoed my experience of cancer - both have thrown many curveballs my way. Like the setbacks after my diagnosis, I’ve had to contend with steep hills, daily punctures and the bike breaking down multiple times.

Besides the sheer staggering beauty of Great Britain’s countryside and coast, it’s people that have got me through this trip, in much the same way as my loved ones have supported me since my diagnosis. From the lovely woman in Wick who put me up for a couple of nights when I couldn’t find a campsite, to the Welsh couple who rescued me when I got stuck on a hill outside their house, I’ve been blown away by the kindness of so many.”

Find out more about Simon's journey here.

We’re incredibly grateful to Simon for his fundraising efforts, which are a testament to his generosity and willpower, and it’s been inspirational to follow his journey around the coast of Great Britain.

Thanks to the innovative, life-extending drugs being trialled at The Royal Marsden, people like Simon are able to live longer with cancer. The money he has raised for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity will help fund new ways of fighting all cancers, including prostate, across the UK and beyond.

Antonia Dalmahoy, Managing director of the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

It is thanks to the dedication and fundraising efforts of individuals like Simon that we are able to fund the life changing research at The Royal Marsden.

Could you take on a fundraising challenge for us?

Find out more about our upcoming fundraising events  or  creating your own fundraising event here.

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