Trio cycle 175 miles to help young Max

Words and photos by Dave Barry 

Paul Turner couldn’t have wished for a worse start to his cross-country bike ride to Scarborough.

Flanked by friends, Paul was raising money to help pay for life-changing surgery for his son.

On the first day, after starting in Morecambe, his bike got a puncture, rain fell heavily, the trio were cycling into a strong wind and they had to climb a steep hill near Settle.

But they persevered with the help of their driver and one-man support team Ben Swailes, who was following in a van.

Cycling for up to three hours at a time, with a top speed of over 20mph, they covered the 175 miles in three days, staying at B&Bs in Pateley Bridge and Stamford Bridge.

“The hardest bit was the hill out of Settle on Friday”, said an exhausted but happy Paul at the end of the journey.

The team, who met as pupils at Scalby School, was greeted at the Sands piazza by family and friends including Paul’s wife Cath and their children, Neve, 6, and twins Alice and Max, 3. They live near Scarborough.

Alice and Max were born six weeks prematurely and spent three weeks in the hospital’s special-care baby unit. Max was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

The ride kicked off a fundraising campaign that will hopefully allow Max to have transformative surgery, either in the UK or US.

“We have been researching further treatment options and believe now is the time to start fundraising for a life-changing operation to increase the chances of Max being able to live and walk independently”, Paul says.

“It works by removing the spasticity in the body and makes it much easier for him to do the everyday things we take for granted. It will transform his childhood and reduce the long-term effects of cerebral palsy such as muscle shortening, deformity and pain”.

Unfortunately, the treatment is not available on the NHS so the Turners have approached a leading paediatric neurosurgeon, Dr TS Park in St Louis, Missouri, USA.

The surgery, followed by intensive rehabilitation and physiotherapy for up to three years, will cost £100,000.

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