I am joining former England and Crystal Palace footballer and leukemia survivor, Geoff Thomas, and 23 other teammates to cycle the full Tour de France route one week ahead of the professionals to raise funds for the UK charity Cure Leukaemia. It's three huge goals — riding the Tour de France, raising $40,000 myself, and the team’s goal of $1 million. But with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) help, I know I can achieve it.
The Tour de France is one of the biggest challenges in sports, and fundraising for Cure Leukaemia is one of the most important personal commitments I've ever made. Funding clinical trials and the basic science of medicinal research pays incredible dividends, both to the patients directly affected and to the world at large. Katelyn, my girlfriend of five years, lost her mother to melanoma after she was removed from a clinical trial that was saving her life. Geoff Thomas, the reason we're taking on this challenge, beat leukemia thanks to an experimental treatment way back in 2003. The only reason they were able to run the 2021 edition of The Tour 21 challenge and we'll be able to do it again in 2022 is thanks to the medical research and clinical trials that rolled out vaccines for COVID-19 so quickly.
The 2022 edition of The Tour 21 will take place from Friday, June 24, through Sunday, July 17. As part of the team of 25 riders, I will take on all 21 grueling stages and 2,100 miles of the most-watched sporting event in the world. As a team, we are committed to raising $1 million for the charity that helped save Geoff's life and is doing amazing work for blood cancer patients around the world. All funds raised from this event will be invested directly into the UK’s national Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) network which Cure Leukaemia began funding in January 2020, allowing them to open and run clinical trials for pioneering treatments for the disease. Patients from an increased catchment area of over 20 million people will have access, as a result, to participate in studies for potentially life-saving treatments, ones that can then be used worldwide.