Cancer patients tour Heaton’s home to help the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation


A bowel cancer patient who has to isolate himself for at least 12 weeks to protect himself from the coronavirus is cycling the Tour de France from his home.

Keith Farquharson has learned that half of those with his prognosis die within 12 months, which makes him particularly vulnerable if he contracts Covid-19.

But the 44-year-old took the 2,082-mile route using a turbo trainer to convert his road bike to a static bike.

It’s a challenge Keith aims to tackle from the confines of his kitchen, living room and garden in Heaton, Newcastle, at a rate of 50 km per day, during two-hour sessions.

Keith Farquharson completes the Tour de France from his backyard

The father of a child said, “It gave me something else to focus on while we are all stuck at home.

“It’s a really fantastic activity for me both mentally and physically. When I ride a bike, I don’t think of anything else. It’s such an important escape for me right now. ”

The past few years have been particularly difficult for Keith, a software developer who continues to work full time at home.

In January 2017, his father was diagnosed with stage four kidney and bladder cancer.

And just two months later, Keith’s wife Amber was told she had cervical cancer before he too was diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Keith decided to take a tour of the 2018 Tour de France to raise funds for the St Oswald hospice and the Northeast Cancer Charity, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, where he is currently receiving treatment.

After Keith’s diagnosis and all standard treatments were exhausted, he was offered a trial of a new drug at the Sir Bobby Center in 2018, called Cetrelimab.

Keith seems to respond well to the treatment, which has helped him in his efforts to meet his challenge.

He added: “It is a big challenge and there are sections of the race that I will find very difficult.

“It has the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest five times and contains nine high-class climbs in the Alps and the Pyrenees. But it pushes me to do something that I don’t think I can do. ”

Professor Ruth Plummer, Director of the Sir Bobby Cancer Clinical Trials Research Center, said: “This is obviously a time of particular concern for people most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

“I think what Keith is doing is incredible. This clearly gives him a positive orientation when he is stuck at home and exercise will also be physically useful for him. ”

Keith documents his sponsored cycle from his Twitter account.

He also created a JustGiving page where people can donate here.


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