Team Cardiff

Graham Young

It's been a challenging few months, but I'm through the other side.

At the end of September I was diagnosed with cancer; as you might imagine it came as quite a shock to myself, my family and indeed work colleagues, particularly as I was back to fitness levels I hadn’t enjoyed for a while. In what was a blur I was under the knife for a tricky op to remove the tumour and then a two week wait to understand the results of the biopsy and my outlook. Fortunately it hadn’t spread, interestingly probably because in this case I was pretty fit (there’s a lesson). As an insurance policy I did have to endure five months of chemotherapy. I enjoyed a particularly toxic mix, given I am relatively young (I would describe myself as a sprightly 21 going on 55….), and the Oncologist wanted to well and truly zap any micro traces which may or may not have been left in my body. Even though I tried hard to keep some fitness inevitably I was physically wiped out, there is a cumulative impact from chemo - I'll save you the war stories. The chemo finished in April and I was immediately back on the bike outside where it became apparent the impact, the illness and treatment had on my fitness. I also took the momentous decision (for me) that after 40 years I would retire from the Group and they have been fantastic supporting me through some tough times.

So . . . I am now getting back to match fitness, helped by the fact I have time now to build my fitness. I am up to 54ish miles (c.4k feet climbing) although recently I tackled a 110 mile ride with 7k feet of climbing on Sunday with Gloucester Rugby and Bristol Rugby in support of their local community works (yes I am a life long Cherry and White fanatic!!) It was a tad ambitious on my journey back but at least it pushed me onto the next level.

I know all the cyclists have our own stories and will have to face into our own personal challenges to achieve this ride and money raising activity but I am equally sure that as we gel as a group of people, embracing the same goal, we will collectively achieve it. I have learnt over the years you get more from the whole team achieving something than individuals doing bits of brilliance. I also know that you make friends for life in bonding on these challenges - I still count team members from my Microsoft Challengers days as good friends today.

What really makes this special is the opportunity to raise money for BBC Children in Need. We currently are experiencing some pretty divisive and uncertain times on this island of ours but when ever I get engaged in BBC Children in Need activities and watch it on the TV I can’t fail to be humbled by the kindness and goodness there is right across the country. It really brings the very best out of British people and it makes a real impact on so many peoples lives. I can’t help getting emotional about it!! I am also cognisant of charity raising fatigue given the huge amount of activity going on. However, this is a particularly challenging and compelling activity and therefore I am sure we can hang a few more people upside down and shake some more cash from their pockets even in these difficult days.

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