"It was truly life changing"
Challenge: Cycling across the Pyrenees
Cyclist Ali decided to take on the most famous cycling challenge in the world. A gruelling six-day ride across the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.
What led you to start fundraising?
Lucia, a member of my family, is a very special little girl.
She was born with half a heart, and three years ago I had the privilege of raising funds for a heart charity that supported Lucia and continues to support other children like her.
However, I realised there was another vital charity I needed to support that had played a huge part in the journey of her parents Fiona and James – Ronald McDonald House Charities UK.
Why did you choose to fundraise for Ronald McDonald House Charities UK?
Lucia has had to undergo a number of challenging operations in her short six years. This required numerous long hospital stays and it was so important that Fiona and James be there every step of the way. Staying close by in a hotel would have been financially impossible, and many parents can’t afford this. Luckily, they were offered free family accommodation from Ronald McDonald House Charities UK, which took such a weight off their shoulders. That’s why I chose this Charity because it helped Lucia’s parents and continues to help hundreds of other families like them.
Why did you choose this particular challenge?
I’ve always been an enthusiastic cyclist. Last year, I decided to take on a life-changing challenge. Cycling across the Pyrenees, coast to coast, is one of the most famous cycling challenges consisting of six days, covering 720km and climbing the equivalent of nearly two Mount Everests.
What was your best memory from the experience?
I’ll never forget the feeling when we reached the summit of the legendary Col Du Tourmalet. It took us 2,115m above sea level after an 18km climb. Absolutely amazing! But of course, I made some incredible friendships along the way and the whole experience will stay with me always. It was truly life-changing.
How did you feel when you completed the cycle?
A huge mixture of emotions!
I was so proud I had completed it in the time I aimed for, but completely emotional and physically exhausted from the last six days. Humbled from all the support and donations I received, making my fundraising total over £3500.
I wore the Ronald McDonald House Charities UK branding cycling shirt on the hardest climb and on the last day as we cycled into the cool Mediterranean Sea.
What tips would you give other fundraisers in raising as much money as possible?
Keep updating your supporters with regular blogs and social media posts to show them how well training is going. Use your local and business contacts to help promote your event or challenge. Don’t give up!
What would you say to help others prepare for a big event?
My advice would be to always have a goal and always have a plan. But break that plan down into simple, achievable steps. Discipline yourself, and even when it gets hard – KEEP GOING!