A young British man living in Holland is organising a charity bike ride with a difference. Not only will Matt Cole cycle 1200km around Holland but he will be providing the necessary ‘pedal power’ via his arms.
Spinal Research, a charity dedicated to funding research into spinal cord repair, was chosen to benefit from this amazing challenge because Matt is himself in a wheelchair after a road traffic accident left him paralysed in 2004.
Matt will start – and complete – his handbike ride at the Chariot Sports Center, Eibergen, on 8 July and the route will take between three and four weeks to complete. He intends to follow the Ronde van Nederland cycle route and aim to cycle 55km a day. But Matt won’t be alone as his two children, Libby, 15 and Jim, 12, together with his partner, Louise, will be cycling with him.
Matt says “I want to raise awareness of spinal cord injury and help fund international spinal cord injury research projects. Many people, myself included, have first hand experience of a spinal injury and or have witnessed the devastating effect that spinal injuries have – not only on the sufferer but also their family and loved ones. We are keen to see spinal research progress and excited to be given this opportunity to help raise awareness and funding.
“This is something we can all do together as a family and if it helps relieve some of the suffering for others, in the future, then we will feel like it has been a job well done.
“We will update the website – www.invanet.org – on a regular basis so if you would like to follow our progress then log on regularly – whilst you are there please use the donation links and help us make this a success for Spinal Research. Keep the hope alive.”
Matt, originally from Bournemouth, Dorset, has decided to challenge the perception of Disability in Holland whilst aiming to raise substantial funds for research into spinal cord research. Both Spinal Research and SCEER (Spinal Cord Europe Education and Research) will benefit from the event.
Professor Joost Verhaagen, a member of Spinal Research’s Scientific Committee, who works at the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, is pleased to see this event happen for spinal cord research. He says “Spinal Research is a charity that prides itself on promoting collaboration between organisations through its membership of the ICCP (International Campaign for Cures of spinal cord injury Paralysis) so it is very fitting that Matt is to undertake this amazing fundraising event which will ultimately benefit two organisations researching cures and treatments for spinal cord injury.” Professor Verhaagen and colleague Dr Niclou are current grantholders of a research grant from Spinal Research.
Log on to www.justgiving.com/invanet to donate to Matt’s event or visit Matt’s own website, www.invanet.org for more information. Matt would love people to join him en route for an hour, a day or however much time can be spared.
Alternatively if you wish to help raise money by organising your own event, taking part in a marathon or simply holding a quiz night, Spinal Research provides support and information for fundraisers – so call for your fundraising pack today on 01483 898786, or visit www.spinal-research.org.
For more information, or an interview with Matt Cole, please contact Matt on 0031 544 482 747 or 0031 628 483 818.