A cycle challenge in aid of arthritis research and children living with arthritis

 

Hello, my name is Phil Bowers. I am currently undertaking a demanding 2,000 mile cycle ride from Bath to Rome to inspire young people who suffer from all kinds of arthritis. I have lived with with the impact of septic arthritis in my right hip since birth and so this is a tough chalIenge - I can only pedal my bike while standing up and I am rarely free from pain. I have therefore set myself a daily target of around 20-25 miles a day. Fortunately I can sit on the saddle while freewheeling! I began my trip in Bath on my 31st birthday on 24 June 2017 and plan to reach Rome in time for World Arthritis Day on 12 October 2017.

I am riding to raise funds and awareness for Arthritis Research UK and Children's Chronic Arthritis Association (CCAA). Both charities have been very supportive and excited by the ride I'm undertaking. I am being supported by members of my family on route and they are following me with a support vehicle. All of the expenses involved in making the trip are being met by me and my family: 100% of the money I raise will go directly to the two charities.

 

Donate to the charities via Virgin Money

Background: Every year in the UK an estimated 9,000 youngsters under 16 will develop some form of arthritis. (Source: Arthritis Research UK) Around half will suffer from a rheumatic disorder and others from painful inflammatory arthritis. Coping with arthritis is a challenge for all ages, especially for younger people who contend with not only the daily pain but the issues they will face at school, work and in future relationships.

My story: I developed septic arthritis just after birth which began in my finger. This invasive infection moved to my hip and knee and caused long-term damage to my joints. I have grown up with a limp, restrictions to movement and daily pain. I have undergone surgery to try and improve the function and mobility of my hip but with limited success. However these difficulties have not stopped me from trying to do all the things that I love. I hope a challenge like this will give confidence to other young people and encourage them to pursue their dreams.

From my own experience, people are often surprised to learn that I suffered from septic arthritis from such a young age. That is why I am keen to raise awareness of this condition and other forms of arthritis, to help the large numbers of young people who will need support throughout their lives.

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Day 95! A birthday cycle for Tim! We celebrated with an easier ride than yesterday! As a gift, I let Tim beat me going uphill....what a kind brother. When we got close to Florence, we took an awesome short cut over a hill on a deserted road. The views were cracking! Off to celebrate with the b-day boy now! #italy #florence ... See MoreSee Less

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Special ride today as it is Tim's 29th birthday - hopefully not too many hills for him and Phil as they make their way to Florence. No speeches about Europe from Tim tonight - just a pizza out on the town. ... See MoreSee Less

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Morning all, check out the action from yesterday's ride. Plenty of hills and mistakes to keep you entertained! #relive ... See MoreSee Less

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Some tough hills out on the ride today. Here I am tackling one of them! It's a shame you can't see how steep it is! ... See MoreSee Less

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