A RETIRED nurse has raised over £30,000 for cancer charity Cure Leukaemia by taking on the Tour de France one week ahead of the professionals.
Jackie Fowler, aged 60 from Bromsgrove completed the Tour 21 in memory of her son, Simon, who died of Aplastic Anaemia at just three years old.
Jackie rode alongside former England footballer and Redditch blood cancer survivor, Geoff Thomas MBE, a Cure Leukaemia patron.
She said: “It went really well – not as much rain as I thought there would be but really high temperatures.
“We were cycling between eight to ten hours a day, and going up the mountains was challenging.”
Unfortunately Geoff took a tumble on the first day and was advised by the physio he would be unable to continue.
He flew home, along with two other team members who also suffered injuries.
Jackie said: “I packed a load in my first aid kit but it turned out I didn’t need any of it.
“I think because we had a lot of dry weather the ground wasn’t as slippery as it might’ve been so it wasn’t as tough as I expected.”
The route is an astonishing 3,500km (2,200miles), the distance equivalent to cycling from Worcestershire to Moscow.
It also involved an uphill climb equal to three times the height of Mount Everest.
“I think I’ve been on a high for the last month with training and the excitement of the event, but I am going to give my body a rest .”
But Jackie is flying to Italy in eight weeks to represent Great Britain in a road race.
“I thought I might as well keep going. I won a road race in Cambridge before we started in France.”
The team have raised over £800,000 so far but want to get to the £1million.
“I hope people can see that as a 60-year-old grandmother and retired nurse, for me to take on all 21 stages of the Tour De France is pushing the boundaries of extraordinary to the limits,” said Jackie.
“If anyone reading this has £10 to spare, give that £10 to Cure Leukaemia – it will go to saving someone’s life.”