Ely dad cycling from London to Paris smashes £5,000 fundraising target in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital
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An Ely dad cycling from London to Paris in aid of charity has smashed his £5,000 fundraising target in just seven weeks.
Now Joe Hemsley-Rudd hopes to raise £15,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital after his two-year-old son Louis underwent a 360 skull reconstruction earlier this year.
We covered Joe's story in this newspaper in November as he started training for the gruelling 300-mile cycle ride from one country to the other.
Since then, Great Ormond Street Hospital has granted Joe with a charity fund called the Louis Hemsley-Rudd Team Gosh Charity Fund which will ensure money goes to directly to the Cranio Facial unit, who operated and cared for his son.
He's teamed up with Ely Cathedral to hold a family day on August 1 to celebrate the ride but also raise awareness of Craniosynostosis, the rare condition his son had.
One in 2,000 babies are affected by the condition which sees a change in the child's skull growth pattern, with sutures fusing into bone.
Mr Hemsley-Rudd said: "We we're fortunate that Louis did not suffer from raised pressure.
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"However in children that do suffer with that, it can cause issues with speech and language and development delays.
"So, in May 2019, The craniofacial team led by Mr Jeelani and Professor Dunnaway performed a full 360 reconstruction of Louis skull.
"The operation went well and Louis will continue to be monitored for raised pressure throughout his childhood years."
Joe says the struggles the family went through during diagnosis and the operation inspired him to sign up for the charity cycle ride.
Since our previous article, Premier League's Everton FC have supplied a signed football to help support the challenge with fundraising
Cambridge University Rugby Club have invited Joe to train with the team and use their conditioning centre, also become a sponsor of the challenge.
Multiple local businesses have got behind him including Ellgia, Grovemere Properties, Busy Bee Recruitment, Atrium Fitness,Prestige Fire, The Printing Barn, Dynamic Creative, Performance Conveyor Belting Limited, Fraser Dawbarns LLP plus many more.
Joe added: "We have a number of other things in the planning with large companies, sporting clubs and other celebrities who wanted to help."
The trip will take place in July 2020, starting from London with a 75 mile cycle via the Surrey downs arriving in Southampton for the overnight ferry to Caen.
The next few days will cycle through historic French countryside amassing over 165 miles, then on the final day he will cycle east, crossing the River Eure and through the valley of the Seine then on to Paris.
The final leg will see Joe pass the Arc de Triomphe and down the famed Champs-Elysees to complete the gruelling challenge and the final 60 miles beneath the lofty arches of the iconic Eiffel Tower.
"Training has been going really well and I am very proud to have the community behind me on this challenge. It is spurring me on and it is now a bigger that just a cycle ride, I am looking forward to seeing how it develops in 2020," Joe added.
To donate, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joe-hemsley-rudd