David Heneghan 24 hour cycle

Jo Hoggarth recently spent over a week in hospital petrified she would end up with the COVID-19 virus. You see Jo has Aspergillosis. Never heard of it? Don’t worry most people haven’t. It is a rare and debilitating respiratory illness, caused by a fungus that is all around us. Sadly the illness is a widely misunderstood allergy to a fungal spore (Aspergillus) found everywhere in our lives, indoors and outdoors. It is not easily recognised by doctors; there is no cure and limited funding means minimal research.

For the few people affected by Aspergillosis, this means constant exposure to its devastating effects which, in Jo’s case, include persistent chest infections, breathlessness, wheezing, chest or joint pain, exhaustion and violent coughing that induces bleeding of the lung.

These symptoms are compounded by the extensive side effects of daily drug therapies which suppress the growth of a fungal ball that has developed in each of Jo’s lungs. Surgery is not an option for Jo as this would require removal of 40% of her lung tissue.

Being a rare disease, it is recognised that Jo’s condition will deteriorate with the inevitable restriction of day to day activities and impact on family life.

With little public perception or awareness of aspergillosis, one of the world’s foremost charities, the Fungal Infection Trust, focuses exclusively on fungal disease research, education and patient support across the world. Independent funding is critical to maintaining the research and development programmes of the Fungal Infection Trust. You can find out more about Aspergillosis at https://aspergillosis.org.

Thankfully Jo is home now from hospital, and while she didn’t catch the virus, her battle with Aspergillosis will be lifelong.

One side effect of the current pandemic is that the wonderful focus on the NHS is diverting funds from other good causes including charities supporting respiratory illnesses such as Aspergillosis.

That is why I am hoping to do a 24 hour cycle before the end of June to raise money for Aspergillosis research. If I can stay on the bike for 16 – 20 hours (allowing for breaks, fatigue and the weather), I hope I can manage at least 400km. For context I have never ridden more than 9.5 hours: I have never gone beyond 240km and I have only recently ridden in the dark! No problem there then! I will be live-streaming the event all day so you can follow the suffering!

While preparing physically and mentally I am hoping to get as many people as possible to get involved. Even if Aspergillosis, or other respiratory illnesses, are not causes for you, maybe you want to recognise one of our heroic nurses who take such pride in caring for us and not just during the pandemic.

Please help by using my Facebook or VirginGiving pages to:

1. Enter a competition to predict how far I will cycle. Whoever gets closest to the final distance will receive a set of Endura FS250 Pro Bib Shorts (worth £85). To enter the completion donate £10 and enter your guess of the total distance cycled in the comments box.

2. Just donate £5 to Aspergillosis and if you are feeling generous add an extra £1 for every 10km I cycle beyond 400k, (I have no idea if I can do it but I would love to do 500k in total!)

3. Comment about a nurse who made a difference for you and donate £5

Post expires at 2:18pm on Friday May 20th, 2022