Boy cycles 87 miles for charity, inspired by grandmother’s eye cancer
A ten-year-old who cycled 87 miles from his house to his grandmother in Angmering to raise money for a cancer charity close to her heart has crossed the finish line.
Callum Smith set out from Butlers Cross in Buckinghamshire last Saturday and after nine hours of cycling and some breaks, he got to Sue Harris’s house the following day, greeted by bunting and a trophy.
He has raised more than £3,520, plus £680 of Gift Aid, for OcuMel UK, a charity to support ocular melanoma patients – a rare form of eye cancer that Callum’s grandmother was diagnosed with in January last year.
He was accompanied by his mother, Jennie, the whole way and was joined by his father, Adam, three-quarters of the way through.
Jennie said: “We are all immensely proud of his grit, determination and energy in fulfilling this self-chosen challenge.
“The amount Callum has raised is astounding and we’re so grateful to everyone who has donated.”
Jennie said her son climbed 3,280ft during the trip, adding that it was ‘really tough going but the long downhills were the big reward’.
After braving some ‘pretty hairy roundabouts’ and the extremes of British weather, from sun to hailstorms, at 3.05pm on the Sunday Callum accelerated up the last hill to a welcome party hosted by his grandmother, Jennie said.
She added: “He then surprised us all by having the energy to kick a football with his brothers soon after arrival.”
Ocular melanoma affects around 600 people a year in the UK, and only three centres in the country can treat it: Liverpool, Glasgow, and London.
When Callum discovered his grandmother had cancer, he was determined to help, so he came up with the idea of the bike ride.
Speaking ahead of the ride, he said he was ‘over the moon’ that he had raised so much money, and that he was doing the ride because he loved his grandmother.
Sue, a 75-year-old magistrate, was ‘completely taken aback’ when she heard Callum’s plans and said it ‘reduced her to tears’.
She said she was currently having treatment to keep the cancer under control, and urged everyone to have an eye test every two years with dilation drops to catch symptoms early.