Carl Ikeme is calling for Wolves fans to get on their bikes and support him on his latest awareness and fundraising venture in aid of Race Against Blood Cancer.
The popular goalkeeper, whose career was cut short in July 2017 when he was diagnosed with acute leukaemia, has decided to take on a mammoth cycling challenge as he rides 562 miles in six days across the county.
The 33-year-old’s entire career was with Wolves after joining the Academy at the age of 14, but he also spent time out on loan at eight other clubs – Accrington Stanley, Stockport County, Charlton Athletic, Sheffield United, Queens Park Rangers, Leicester City, Middlesbrough and Doncaster Rovers – and Carl will be visiting each of those clubs as part of his challenge in May 2020.
Carl said: “I’m taking on this challenge because after what I went through, I want to increase the awareness around the donor stem cell transplants. The chance of finding a stem cell donor if you are from an ethnic minority is dramatically reduced if you get some kind of blood cancer.
“I think most people are aware about giving blood, but I don’t think many know about being on the stem cell donor list, but we want to create more donors and get the numbers up, especially within ethnic communities because they really are at risk if they do get blood cancer as it’s difficult to find a match.
“Race Against Blood Cancer do great work and our initial thoughts when coming up with this challenge was what we could do to raise awareness for the charity. Someone pointed out that I had a lot of loan clubs across the country, so maybe I should cycle between all of them.
“After a bit of planning, we figured out a route which would link all the different clubs I’ve played for over the course of six days.”
Now in complete remission after intense chemotherapy, Carl will start his challenge in Middlesbrough on Monday 4th May as he heads down the country to London, before coming back up to the Midlands to finish at Molineux ahead of Wolves’ final home match of the Premier League season against Crystal Palace on Saturday 9th May.
- Day 1 (4th May): Middlesbrough - Accrington Stanley - Stockport County (132 miles)
- Day 2 (5th May): Stockport County - Doncaster Rovers - Sheffield United (83 miles)
- Day 3 (6th May): Sheffield United - Leicester City - Northampton (110 miles)
- Day 4 (7th May): Northampton - Charlton Athletic - QPR (90 miles)
- Day 5 (8th May): QPR - Southam (90 miles)
- Day 6 (9th May): Southam - Wolves (50 miles)
Cycling 562 miles in just six days is a test that Carl is looking forwards to facing, despite being more than five times longer than any bike ride he’s ever attempted before.
“Last May I did the Velo in Birmingham, which was a 100-mile bike ride for Heartlands Hospital. I was looking for a bigger challenge next year, so now I’ve gone from 100 miles on a bike to 550 miles very quickly!
“The Velo was the furthest I’ve ever cycled in one bike ride and that was a very tough challenge, so doing it repeatedly for almost six days in a row is going to be another level.
“But we’ve got some really good routes through the Pennines and the Peak District, so I’m sure there’s going to be quite a few climbs in there as well. I expect it to be a real challenge, but something I’m really looking forwards to.”
Carl is also inviting budding cyclists to join him on his awareness and fundraising quest for Race Against Blood Cancer, but it’s not the only way supporters can get involved and help change the outlook for the estimated 2,000 people who are currently seeking a matching stem cell donor. You can:
- Join Carl on one – or all – of the stages by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Become a part of the volunteering team – Race Against Blood Cancer are looking for people to support the event participants, as well as running donor drives along the route
- Spread the word, raise awareness of the challenge via social media
- Corporate sponsorship opportunities are available for equipment for Carl and his team
- Offer gift-in-kind marketing support
- Cheer Carl on along the route
- Sponsor Carl at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/CarlIkeme
“Any cyclists out there can get involved,” Carl added. “All they have to do is send us an email with a few details to express their interest.
“They also don’t have to do the whole 562 miles, they could also just do certain stages – so everyone is welcome to apply.”