A group of patients, friends and medical staff from St Mark’s Hospital in Brent showed guts when they set off from Berkhamsted on a 275-mile cycle challenge through Eastern England.
The 12 person team, which included two doctors, took part in a ride through several counties whose route followed the shape of the large intestine (colon).
The Colon Challenge was the idea of former patient Paul Bouscarle, 63, from Berkhamsted, who set up the event following bowel cancer surgery at the hospital.
The retired chief executive said: “The idea came to me when I was in hospital and was looking at a diagram of a large intestine on the wall of the hospital ward.”
To date, the five Colon Challenge events, held since 2014, have raised £180,000, with a further £115,000 of personal donations from individuals connected with the riders.
Paul plotted the cycle route with the help of mapping software, then cycled and drove sections of the route ensuring they were suitable.
The group starting outside Paul’s house before travelling through Northampton, Market Harborough, Peterborough, Downham Market, Thetford, Bury St Edmunds and Harlow, before finishing with a cheeky photo call in front of the first four letters of the Arsenal sign outside the Emirates Stadium in North London.
Paul added: “The hospital staff were fantastic before, during and after my treatment and I wanted to show my appreciation by raising funds for research into bowel disease carried out by St Mark’s Hospital.
“I am now a Trustee of the fundraising charity, St Mark’s Hospital Foundation, and can see first-hand how much patients are benefitting from this research.”
The large intestine is five feet long and the route reflects its looping shape with the first day following the ascending colon, the second the traverse, the third the descending, and the final half-day representing the sigmoid colon and rectum.