Cancer patient’s bike ride to repay ‘ward that saved my life’

(Left to right): Dr Thomas Potter, Marcus Potter, Liam Connell, Colin Wood, Kathleen Cleary and Charlie Cleary
(Left to right): Dr Thomas Potter, Marcus Potter, Liam Connell, Colin Wood, Kathleen Cleary and Charlie Cleary
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A man who discovered he had cancer because of a cycling accident is getting back in the saddle again to repay the people who saved his life.

Liam Connell from Ervine Road, Littlehampton, is getting 100 riders to cycle 26 miles from the cancer unit at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester to the Worthing Cancer Day Centre on July 2.

One bit of misfortune caused me a lot of good fortune. It caused the cancer to be diagnosed

Liam Connell

The 73-year-old wants each rider to raise £50 for the two departments, after receiving chemotherapy for follicular lymphoma at Worthing Hospital for five years.

He said: “The moment I was put in remission I thought I now might as well do something for the cancer ward that saved my life.”

The retired carpenter first got into cycling in 2000 to rebuild his fitness after falling from a three-storey building on Worthing seafront and breaking his ankle. Over the course of several years, he raised more than £50,000 for charity on several bike rides, including one through the Pyrenees and a tour of Ireland.

During a sponsored ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End in 2011, Liam was knocked off his bike in Stroud, Gloucestershire and dislocated his shoulder.

His friend, doctor Rory Cavanaugh, was also doing the ride and treated him by the roadside.

He noticed a lump on his neck which he told Liam to get checked out – and it turned out to be a swollen lymph node caused by the cancer. Liam said the crash was actually a ‘lucky’ moment for him: “One bit of misfortune caused me a lot of good fortune. It caused the cancer to be diagnosed.”

During his gruelling treatment, he did a 40-mile county bike ride to ‘test if I was still alive’, and added ‘it nearly killed me. Now back to full health, he praised the staff on the cancer ward.

To take part in the bike ride, call 01903 716 306 or go to Spokes cycle shop in Beach Road, Littlehampton.