Woman to cycle 400km for cancer charities in memory of sister

A WOMAN from Shefford is set to complete a 400km cycle ride in Kenya to raise money and awareness for Ovarian Cancer, following her sister’s death from the illness 18 months ago.

Helen O’Neil, of Clifton Road, is to complete the gruelling course in November alongside 80 other women including TV presenters Aggie MacKenzie and Dawn Porter.

She decided to complete the challenge after losing sister Julie in September 2009, six days after her 45th birthday, and has set a target of at least �3,000.

“I couldn’t get over the sense of loss and anger that Julie had been taken so early in her life,” said Helen.

“I was angry at how it took so long for her to be diagnosed. She had been going to the doctor’s with classic signs, and it should have been one of the first things picked up.

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“It was about six months after her death that I saw this challenge to take part in a 400km cycle rise through Kenya, along with 80 other women.

“To me it was fate, my chance to redirect my pain and anger at losing Julie into doing something good and in some small way maybe help to extend or save the lives of women suffering from these horrible diseases.

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“I’m not a particularly fit person, and my training has been put on hold, but within four weeks, I will be back on my bike aiming to get fit for this challenge.”

The cycle ride, which will travel through iconic sites including the Rift Valley and Lake Victoria, is expected to be completed within five days,

The money raised will be spilt between Breast Cancer Care, Ovarian Cancer Action and Jo’s Cervical Trust.

Helen is paying the costs to cover the challenge with her own money so that all donations will go to the charity. To sponsor her, visit www.justgiving.com/Helen-O-Neil

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