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Back from the bikeathon, inspired once more by 13-year-old Joe Smale

Posted on 26 June 2011 | 2:06pm

I’m just back from the London Bikeathon, another 52 miles in the legs, and a dose of sunburn on the neck. But, as ever, it was a terrific way to spend the morning, with 5000 other cyclists raising money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

Some of you may remember that a few weeks ago I talked about a 13 year old boy called Joe Smale, who has now had leukaemia three times in his short life, and is currently recovering from a bone marrow transplant.

Joe and his family have done the 26 mile version of the bikeathon for years but this year he was deemed not well enough to take part. Undeterred he persuaded his doctors he should be allowed to do it on a bike machine in hospital.

However, today they decided he was not well enough for the task. But they did let him out to go down to the start of the race at Battersea Power station, and start one of the waves of cyclists.

I have known Joe for a few years now, in good times and bad, sick and healthy. As you will see from this Youtube video, he is an extraordinary young man. See the film and then, if you’re feeling generous, visit his fundraising page.

Big Society in action. Hopefully saving Joe, and many others as the charity continues its remarkable research which has seen death rates in childhood leukaemia fall from almost 100 per cent to less than 10 in half a century.