Formby psychotherapist undertakes epic cycling challenge with best friend for charity
Two best friends of two decades who have worked together at Sefton Council for 20 years will undertake the challenge of a lifetime for three women’s cancer charities in 2020.
Social Workers Jenny Stuart and Justine Hoiles will embark on a gruelling 416km cycle challenge from Bangkok to Koh Samui in Thailand to raise money for Breast Cancer Care, Ovarian Cancer Action and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.
The Women V Cancer Cycle Thailand 2020 Challenge will take place over nine days in October 2020, with around 60 female challengers cycling a stunning route that takes in the Sam Roi Yot National Park and the Gulf of Thailand.
Jennifer and Justine, who first became friends in September 1998 on their first day at Riversdale College in Aigburth, Liverpool where they both undertook an Access to Higher Education course, are hoping to raise almost £7,000 between them in sponsorship to donate to the charities.
Jenny, who lives in Formby and now works as a psychotherapist with Sefton Council’s Therapeutic Support Team in Ainsdale, is taking on the challenge after her mum was diagnosed with cervical cancer and had to undergo a hysterectomy.
Justine, a Sefton Council Social Worker from Crosby, has lost several family members to cancer and decided to take part in the event after spotting an advert for it in a magazine.
Both women are now completing a training programme to ensure they are fit and ready for their epic adventure, and planning a series of fundraising events to help raise their sponsorship money.
Jenny said: “When my mum was diagnosed with cancer I felt so helpless and I wanted to do something massive to try and make a difference. I had always thought she was indestructible and then I suddenly realised she wasn’t, so I wanted to do something to help.
“Justine and I are both Social Workers and our instinct is to fix things; we both wanted to do something on a big scale that would raise a significant amount of money and make a difference in some way.
“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime and really exciting. It will definitely push us out of our comfort zone but we are both pretty active and we have been doing lots of cardio and cycling to prepare for it – I have never pushed myself so hard.
“Next year, 2020, both Justine and I will have worked for the council for 20 years and we have been best friends for 20 years so it seemed like the perfect time to do it.
“We met on our first day at training college and we have been best friends ever since. We’ve been there for each other every step of the way and I can’t think of anyone else I would want to do something like this with. It will be an amazing experience.”
Justine said: “Cancer has affected so many people and it’s so common. I have lost family members to it and I know how devastating it can be.
“This is a daunting challenge, not just in terms of the route itself but also the training and the fundraising, and we both feel quite exposed, nervous and vulnerable. But our friends, families and colleagues have been so supportive and we will be taking on the challenge with 60 other wonderful women so we know we’ll achieve it.
“Neither of us has ever done anything like this before and we’re so excited. To be doing it together, and sharing the experience with all the other cyclists who have all lost people to cancer too, will be a very special experience.”
To find out more about the Women V Cancer Cycle Thailand 2020 Challenge visit https://www.dream-challenges.com/challenges/women-v-cancer/women-v-cancer-cycle-thailand-2020/