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Cancer patient ‘shattered’ after cycling Tour de France at home while shielding

UK News | Published:

Keith Farquharson, 46, fit cycling 2,000 miles around his family life and job.

Keith Farquharson

A man with stage four bowel cancer said he is feeling “shattered” after completing a 2,000-mile mock Tour de France while shielding at home.

Keith Farquharson, a 46-year-old software developer, took on the challenge to raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Research Centre, where he is currently receiving treatment.

He was offered a trial drug from the centre which he credits with keeping him alive. When diagnosed in 2017, he was told that half of people with his prognosis would die within a year.

Mr Farquharson, from Heaton in Newcastle, has been in self-isolation for the past four months due to the risk posed to him by coronavirus.

Mr Farquharson has been riding around 30 miles each day (Sir Bobby Robson Foundation/PA)

However, he managed to complete the 2,082-mile ride while also working from home alongside his wife Amber and seven-year-old son Caspian.

Taking on around 30 miles a day, Mr Farquharson chose the 2018 Tour because he watched it in its entirety after receiving his diagnosis.

The ascent on the course is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest five times.

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Speaking after completing his achievement, he said: “I’m shattered and pleased it’s over but it’s been so, so good.

“Strangely, the hardest part was about halfway through when I came off the hills and it was flat. It was just less interesting to do, so it was quite hard to keep motivated.

“Raising money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has really helped. I always used to cycle when I had chemo.

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“It helps you mentally, you can get out and think about something other than what’s going on and it makes a big difference.”

Following his ride, which began on March 28, Mr Farquharson was cheered by family and friends as he celebrated on a podium set up outside his home.

Among the crowd was Lady Elsie Robson, widow of former England football manager Sir Bobby, who set up the foundation in 2008. He died a year later with lung cancer.

Lady Elsie said: “What a marvellous achievement this is. I think Keith must be a very special man indeed to have completed this ride and in such difficult circumstances.”

Mr Farquharson with his wife Amber and son Caspian (Sir Bobby Robson Foundation/PA)

This is not the first time Mr Farquharson has taken on a physical challenge, having signed up for the Great North Run two years after a triple cancer diagnosis hit his family.

Within the space of five months, he, his wife Amber, and his father were all diagnosed with cancer. His wife is now in remission but his father died in March last year.

Mr Farquharson’s efforts have raised around £4,000 so far, and further donations can be made at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/keith-farquharson-gnr-2020

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