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Student Viewpoint Education LLily’segacy

How Etonian, Louis Metcalfe and three team mates raised £200,000 for leukaemia research in memory of his mother, Lily, who died in 2005

When I was eleven, my mother, Lily died after a three-year battle with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. It was completely devastating. The first time I knew that my mother was ill was when I was nine years- old. Over breakfast one morning my parents told me that my mother was going to be away a lot and for a long time because she would be in hospital. At the time, I didn’t know it was leukaemia. I didn’t even know what it was but over the next three years it dominated our lives. Gradually, as I grew older, I realised how sick she was. It was traumatic and affected me a great deal. After she died I was determined to do something to help fund the research. I talked about it with my rowing team at Eton, Archie

The team in Lisbon, Portugal

“Arrived in Lisbon, 1200 miles, 3 countries, 46 punctures, lots of ham baguettes”

member either. Last year, Tom lost his grandmother to the same disease. Approx, 7,600 people are diagnosed with Leukaemia, a blood cancer which affects the white blood cells which are vital for fighting infection, so finding a cure is paramount. The training was as challenging as the ride itself. Our first test was taking part in the Chiltern Hundred – something the organisers described as “a hard and uncompromising

Gilmour, Harry Pearson Gregory and Tom Prebensen, and together we came up with the idea of bicycling to Lisbon, a place I knew well, as my stepmother Mariella’s family is from there – and it was about the right distance. We decided our target would be £100,000 but when we reached that last May, we doubled it. Now we are only £5,000 off raising two hundred thousand pounds which will fund a Research Clinical Trial for a full 3-year drug trial. Once we had made a plan it was exciting to see how it evolved. We were accepting a huge challenge to bicycle over 1,200 miles through three countries from London to Lisbon with, as it turned out in the end, 46 punctures, but I believed in what we were doing and so did my friends. It was exciting to be raising money for a charity that will

help other people so they won’t have to suffer what we went through. I hate that it took her. Sadly, this is a disease that still affects so many people and the suffering is horrible. Therefore, we all agreed to raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and see what we could do to help put an end to the disease. I am not the only one to lose a family

road romp across 177kms of the toughest and most picturesque terrain in the Chilterns.” It was relentless, with 21 hills and 15% gradients and just showed us how unfit we were and how much we had to do before the big off. It was incredible the way people came to help us. When we set off from Trafalgar Square, Boris Johnson rode with us and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research’s Chairman of Fundraising, Alastair Campbell, who had asked my father Charlie Metcalfe, to be a trustee of the charity, waved us goodbye. In Paris we celebrated Bastille Day with the International Herald Tribune: the publisher is an old friend of my father’s. My family had really done everything and pulled out the stops. Mariella brought in Vilebrequin and Banco Spirito Santo in Lisbon and we raised £54,000 at a Juan Les Pins fundraiser dinner. The experience has been absolutely incredible. We had a

great time doing it, so I’m not happy that it’s over, but I’m relieved that we’ve finished it. There have been some really tough moments, but we’ve made it. And knowing that we’ve been able to make a difference for such an important cause is an amazing feeling. I will always miss my mother but at least now I know that she hasn’t died in vain and through her memory, we have been able to help others. To help Louis and his friends raise the last £5,000 please go to www.

Autumn 2011 FirstEleven 15

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