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 91! Rest day in Pisa today. We loved checking the city out yesterday- some stunning sights in the centre! Only 3 weeks to go until we arrive in Rome! ... See MoreSee Less

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Day 90! Well, well, well...a short ride on a horrible main road into Pisa today. It started off very cultural at a lake but it didn't last long. Luckily it was a quick ride! Once we arrived at the campsite though we found out that Tim had to be towed out of a camper spot because he got stuck in the mud! Classic stuff! #italy #shorttripsalwayseventful ... See MoreSee Less

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Thanks very much to Mike and Jane for their kind donation this morning. Also a big thanks to Phil for wearing his finest pyjama bottoms in this shot.
It's supposedly a short stint to Pisa today. Let's see if the cyclists can beat the campervan!
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Here is the #relive from a couple of days ago. Nothing like seeing a few mountains over your cornflakes. ... See MoreSee Less

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