We are a team of veterans; some with life changing injuries and we are entering the Race Accross America in 2020. We are competing as a 4 person team, I will be using an arm powered bike as I am paralyzed from the waist down due to injuries sustained in service. The team will be suported by a 16 person support crew with vehicles and equiptment. The Race Accross America is a 3075 mile bike race from San Diego to Annapolis and the team have 9 days to reach the finish once the race starts. The team will be racing 24 hrs a day in pairs doing 4 hr rotations broken down into 30 min efforts. It is one of the hardest races in the world; able bodied athletes have failed to complete it; to say this will be challenging is an understatement.
Further info on the race -
We are doing the race to raise money for some of the Armed Forces charities that support the serving and ex-forces community. These charities are - Army Benevolent Fund (Soldiers Charity), RAF Benevolent Fund (RAFBF), Royal Mairnes Association (RMA) and Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA). We have set a minimum target of £80000 and have a seperate online giving page for this -
The ride is a memorial ride for my friend Bob Anthony who recently passed away under tragic circumstance and whos dying wish be that I do the race and raise money for the above Armed Forces Charites.
Bob was a close friend, Bob and I became friends after Bob sustained a high level spinal cord injury in 2015 during a motorcycle accident in Thailand. I am also spinal cord injured; I work as the Armed Forces Peer Support Officer at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court. My job is to support both serving personnel and veterans who sustain a spinal cord injury. It was in this capacity that I first met Bob at Oswestry Spinal Unit following Bobs repatriation to the UK.
Bob served in the Royal Signals for 15 yrs then on leaving the Army joined West Mercia Police where he served as a Police officer for over 20 yrs. When Bob retired he decided to travel around the world with his wife Kate and at the time of his injury they were living in Thailand. Bobs Spinal Cord Injury was severe and he was completely paralyzed from the neck down. After a period of rehabilitation at Oswestry spinal unit Bob was discharged home.
Due to the fact that Bob had been outside of the UK for a significant period of time he was not entitled to any adaptions at home or to apply for any benifits. His local authority were also unable to provide him with a suitable wheelchair. This left bob living in a hospital bed in his lounge for over 2 years and effectivly a prisoner in his own home. Bob was provided with a 24 hr care package because he was completely unable to do anything for himself bar move his head and talk. Unfortunately there were constant issues with carers not being appropritely qualified or not turning up for varying reasons. This resulted in Bob getting preasure sores and his wife Kate had to become heavily involved in Bobs daily care.
I supported both Bob and Kate throughout this and it was in a bid to help Bob that I first came up with doing the Race Accross America to raise money. It was planned that the money raised would be used to buy Bob a suitable wheelchair and adapt his home.
In may 2017 I went to see Bob to discuss my plans but ultimatley found that Bob after much soul searching had decided on soething else. Bob told me that he did not want to spend the rest of his life living like he was and had taken the decision to end his life. The only option for Bob was to stop eating and wait for nature to take its course. Bob was of sound mind; as such he was given support, pallative care and made as comfortable as possible throughout.
It took 78 days before Bob passed away in june 2017; it was one of the most profound and upsetting situations for all involved. That being said it was what Bob wanted and now he is at peace.
Before he died Bob made me promise to put a team in for the Race Accross America and donate all the money that would have been for him to the charities named earlier on this page. A collection was taken at his funeral and this money now sits in the pot on our charites donation page (see link further up this page)
It is going to cost £54,000 ($70,000) to get the team to the start line and that is what this page has been setup for; as mentioned above we have a seperate page for the charities. There is significant cost to entering this race as the team has to provide all its own support, bikes, spares, team car's, flights, accomodation in the form of camper vans (some of which have to be wheelchair accessible) etc. The entry fee alone is several thousand dollars.
If there is any money from the £54,000 not spent on completing the race it will be placed in the pot for the chairties and contribute towards that fundraising total.
Please help me keep a promise to a good man who deserved better and to support the Armed Forces Community that we are fundraising for.
Thank you for your support.