Gareth Morgan is preparing to strain every sinew to conquer the Tumble to repay City Hospice for the strength they passed on during his late wife’s final days.
A crisp, cold Caldicot Castle was the setting for Gareth and Kim’s wedding day, just five months after she was diagnosed with skin cancer. Despite Kim having her lymph nodes removed, the cancer had spread to her liver and an intense course of chemotherapy failed to tackle the disease.
The newly named husband and wife were able to spend three more months together under the palliative care of City Hospice before Kim passed away in April 2003. Gareth admits he would have been lost and alone without the support of City Hospice staff, and he will have them in his mind as he pushes himself to the limit at VELOTHON Wales this Sunday.
“Riding VELOTHON Wales for City Hospice is the least I could do after all the support they gave to my late wife and I before she passed away,” said Gareth. “My initial target was to raise £1,000 but we’ve smashed that and now I’m hoping to raise around £2,000 for the amazing work they do to help cancer patients and their families.
“I’ve ridden the route and I’m confident I can do it, the incentive of raising money for City Hospice has been a real drive for me to keep pushing since I started training in October. It would be something she would have been really proud of, she was a fitness fanatic so I’m determined to get up the Tumble even if it takes me a couple of attempts. I’ll be picturing the faces of those nurses who were there for us when I’m battling my way up the Tumble.”
Gareth is now remarried to his wife Ruth, who has been supporting him through all his training and will be at the finishing line cheering him on, on what promises to be a boiling hot day in South Wales.
City Hospice will have around 40 riders among the 9,000 strong field this weekend to raise vital funds to help ease the burden for patients and families affected by cancer or other life-limiting conditions. Although their services are provided completely free of charge, they must raise more than £1million every year in order to ensure they never have to turn a patient away.
“It will be a bit emotional after I cross that finish line,” he added. “It’s my first big cycling event but I will definitely continue to ride once I’ve done it. My wife Ruth jokes with me that I may as well have given all the money I’ve spent on my bike and the gear to charity and just cut out the middle man! I’m really looking forward to VELOTHON Wales this weekend.”
To find out more about Gareth’s story or to donate, head over to www.cityhospice.org.uk/fundraisers/cycling-in-memory-of-kim-morgan.