A breast cancer survivor is cycling almost 1,000 miles to raise money for patients with life-limiting conditions.
Mother-of-two Jenny Phillips, 53, from Downley, only took up cycling three years ago. But, on September 9, she will embark on an epic 969-mile bike ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats in aid of The South Bucks Community Hospice.
"I am doing this in recognition of all the many people who are life limited and that's why I want to support the hospice,” said nutritionist Jenny, who is a member of Marlow Riders.
“Although the training is extreme, I feel that this challenge is within my grasp. I was diagnosed with cancer in my 30s and I am fitter and healthier now than I was all those years ago.”
She added: “Health is something that I no longer take for granted, so not a day goes by that I don’t feel glad to be alive and on this planet. I am so delighted that I am able to undertake such a massive event as this.
“But so many people are facing difficult health conditions that really limit their ability to participate in a full life. I am supporting the hospice because it can really help in providing services to these people.”
Jenny hopes to raise at least £2,000 for the hospice. She will be part of 800 riders who will spend nine days on the journey. The event, called the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, is run annually and Jenny used her own funds to buy a place. She will be accompanied by her friend Andy May, from Weston Turville, who is raising funds for Cancer Research, and the contingent of cyclists will stop at camp sites along the way.
The prospect of the ride both excites and scares her. “The first day in Cornwall involves 8,500 feet of climbing which is huge and I'm really terrified about that,” she said. “On one of the days alone, we will be riding 127 miles.”
Jenny has been free of cancer for 14 years. She said: "I had breast cancer and took six months to beat it. At the time, our children were very small - five and six years old. I went through all the treatment but felt I needed to do more to increase my chances of success. I read extensively and made big shifts in my diet and lifestyle, and consequently I have much better health now than when I was younger which is really cool. It's quite a privilege to be fit and well enough to do this ride.”
Jenny, who has a background in science and a chemistry degree, began looking at what cancer was and started to build up a picture of how she could help herself. As a result of her experience, she made a career switch in 2005 and retrained as a nutritionist.
She is convinced her diet helped her successful recovery, and she went on to write a book called “Eat to Outsmart Cancer”.
“Clearly what we put in our bodies matters a lot,” she said. “I really cut down on processed foods like pasta and bread, and ate more vegetables and natural food. I then found a lot of niggly health problems, such as asthma that I’d had since childhood – and which I hadn’t considered were related - just went away.”
Jenny chose to back The South Bucks Community Hospice after meeting its Chief Executive Officer Jo Woolf, and visiting the new hospice building Butterfly House, a stunning new palliative day centre in Totteridge, High Wycombe.
“I was really impressed with the work Jo Woolf was doing to bring an improved quality of life to people who need it. I was very impressed by her plans. Having faced cancer myself, I have the constant knowledge of what it's like.
“At the time, I was very young and felt I had a lot to live for, and now I want to be able to give something back to the patients who are going through what I had to face.”
To back Jenny and The South Bucks Community Hospice, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jennynutrition
Video available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICwZNt9GItI&t=18s