Taking on an epic challenge for cancer research

Simon Aylett has recently set off on an incredible 4,500-mile e-bike ride around the entire British coastline raising money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

A year after starting a phase 1 drug trial at The Royal Marsden Simon Aylett has recently set off on an incredible 4,500-mile e-bike ride around the entire British coastline raising money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

Receiving the diagnosis

"At the end of 2017, my oncologist sat me down and told me I may have about 12 months of reasonable health left until the prostate cancer I had been fighting since 2012 would gain the upper hand.

An MRI scan showed the disease had spread to the lymph system near the small of my back. It was now stage 4 and sadly with prostate cancer, once it has become advanced, there is no cure. All that can be done is to slow it down.

I’d had surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and various forms of hormone treatment, all of which had worked and kept me going for a few more years when I then become quite unwell.

SImon Aylett on his e-bike

Referral to The Royal Marsden

In 2020 I was referred to The Royal Marsden in Sutton and accepted onto a Phase I drug trial through the Oak Drug Development Unit. A year later and I am still here. Better than that, I am feeling well and my PSA [prostate-specific antigen] score has been reduced from the hundreds to near single figures. The few side effects I felt in the first few weeks of the trial have all but disappeared, and I have just been feeling better and better.

Simon Aylett with his daughter and granddaughter

Becoming a grandparent

Thanks to this trial, last February I became a grandparent for the first time with the arrival of my granddaughter Phoebe. It is an extraordinary milestone in life and one that if you'd asked me two or three years ago, I would say I would never get to experience. Now we've hit that one, my next target milestone is to hang around long enough to hear her say 'grandpa’.

Raising money for research

Three years ago, in the knowledge I could have only 12 months of reasonable health left, I embarked on a 2,000-mile e-bike adventure for charity, riding all the way from my home in Rye in Sussex to Syracuse in Sicily. Realistically I thought this would be my last trip in every meaning of the word. Now, with this drug trial continuing to work wonders I feel it is time for another adventure.

Simon Aylett with his e-bike

At the end of May I embarked on a 4,500-mile journey around the entire British coastline on my e-bike with my homemade aluminium caravan in tow to raise money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. The plan was to leave my home, turn left until I see the sea, and follow the coastline in an anticlockwise direction until I get home again. It should take me around four months altogether, with 72 days in the saddle. I aim to raise £10,000 which will go towards research and trials undertaken at The Royal Marsden, and to help find new ways of fighting all cancers, not just prostate.

The Royal Marsden does an amazing job giving people like myself extra time, whilst continuously researching and trialling new potential cures. I would not be here and able to take on this adventure without them."

Find out more about Simon's adventure.

With your support, we can continue to help more people like Simon through The Royal Marsden's life-saving research