A LANDSCAPE gardener is preparing to cycle 110 miles before performing a show with his punk band to raise funds for a girl battling a rare cancer.
Mark Stokes, of South Otterington, near Northallerton, said he was undertaking the marathon challenge to help fund treatment abroad for his daughter's friend Gaby Alderson, who was diagnosed in September with stage four MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma.
The South Otterington Primary School pupil, ten, has recently completed a third round of intensive chemotherapy at Leeds General Infimary after tumour cells were found in her bones.
Gaby’s mother, Vicki, said they would learn this week if the treatment had been successful and transplant surgery could go ahead.
Ms Alderson, a former pupil of Humersknott Academy, in Darlington, said: “Unfortunately, Gaby hasn't either been well enough or she just hasn't been around to attend school since before Christmas.
“She greatly misses her time there. She manages to see her friends occasionally but only for short visits.”
Fundraisers are aiming to raise £500,000 for treatment abroad should Gaby relapse.
Recent boosts to the appeal have included £750 from a singalong event a Tesco supermarket, in Northallerton and £270 from a Cleveland Wheelers dinner dance.
Mr Stokes, 39, said he and four other fathers of pupils at the school, Mike Metcalfe, Dave Askew, Martin Flannigan and Richard Allen, would ride most of the route of the opening stage of the Tour de France on Saturday, April 5, before his band, Dad’s Army, takes to the stage of a charity show at South Otterington village hall.
Local bands Sugar Town and Lions For A Day will also be performing at the event, which will include a hot supper and a cake auction.
Mr Stokes said: “I will have to concentrate to keep standing up, but the cause is very close to home, especially as I lost my mother, Marilyn, to cancer a few years ago.
“Before this idea I had never cycled more than 50 miles so am having to commit to a lot of training.
“But this amounts to no sacrifice when you consider the treatment Gaby is enduring, and doing so with a smile on her face.”
For details about fundraising, visit facebook.com/GabrielleAldersonsAppeal or Twitter @gabysappeal.
To donate, visit Justgiving.com/NCCAUKGabrielles-journey, text GABR78 followed by an amount up to £10 to 70070 or send a cheque made payable to The NCCA UK - Gabrielle Alderson's Journey, to The NCCA UK, 5 Harmood Grove, London, NW1 8DH.