CAFOD supporter Anne Wilkinson has returned home after successfully completing the challenge of a lifetime: The 3 Cities Charity Bike Ride. Starting in London on 23 May, the gruelling four day course took her across the channel to Amsterdam, through the Dutch and Belgian countryside and on to the finish line in Brussels, a distance totalling 340 miles. Speaking of her experience, Anne said:
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but the most amazing at the same time. Despite numerous injuries and pain, I’ve spent every single meter of this journey in the saddle and for that I am immensely proud.”
Through more than 26 solid hours cycling, with swollen heels and a painful fluid build up in her knee, Anne somehow found the strength to persevere. She explained:
“After the first day I was wondering if I could go on. Several people dropped out on the first day and even more on the second. But what kept me going was the great mix of passionate cyclists and the wonderful charities we were riding for. I feel like I have made friends for life and have heard some great stories. Also, I couldn’t face the embarrassment of having to ride along behind in the van!”
Anne’s inspiration for undertaking this mammoth task came from her experiences growing up in São Paulo, Brazil. Having undergone life-saving heart surgery at the age of four, Anne has always felt grateful for the chance she was given and has hoped to be able to give others the same opportunity. She said:
“I come from quite a privileged background compared to others living in Brazil but I have always been surrounded with poverty and suffering. I feel so blessed with everything that I have. When we have health and a roof over our head it makes us happy. When we can give back just that extra little bit to others it makes us whole. To give something back, to put a smile on the face of someone you don’t know, is wonderful.”
Having recovered from the bike ride, Anne has already begun making plans to take part in and help organise similar events in the future, perhaps by cycling along the coast of South America.
You can still help Anne reach her target by donating at http://www.doitforcharity.com/awilkinson