A budding cyclist from Stockport will take on the iconic Manchester to Blackpool bike ride for The Christie this summer to thank the cancer centre for the care and treatment provided to her mum and partner Pete.
Angela Rhodes, age 41, will take on the famous 60-mile bike ride from Media City in Salford to the Glitterball in Blackpool with her partner Pete, age 40, a testicular cancer survivor who was treated at The Christie in 2006.
“I’m supporting The Christie because of the support they provided my partner Pete through his cancer treatment 16 years ago and more recently the treatment and support for my mum before she died,” said Angela.
Angela, who is the Head of Customer Relationship Marketing at Parcel2Go, only took up cycling in 2021, with the sole purpose of training for last year’s Manchester to Blackpool ride to raise money for The Christie. “I’ve enjoyed cycling so much, I’ve kept it up,” she said.
“Prior to doing the Blackpool ride for the first time last year, I had done no cycling at all. I built up slowly from April and was able to complete the ride in July. I enjoy the peace and freedom of the bike, and the achievement of building up the miles, so am delighted to have found a new form of exercise that I enjoy so much.
“The atmosphere at last year’s Manchester to Blackpool bike ride was so good that I have signed up with Pete again, and we are also going to do the longer 100-mile Manchester 100 event for The Christie in September. By doing both, we hope to raise as much as we can for The Christie.”
Photo: Angela Rhodes and Pete Smith
Angela’s mum, Eileen Rhodes, was treated for non-small cell lung cancer at The Christie. “Mum’s cancer was diagnosed late, and the initial diagnosis seemed to suggest there was no hope as it had spread to her bones,” said Angela. “But after seeing consultants at The Christie, they said they would throw everything at it to slow it down. She responded well to initial treatments which included radiotherapy and a clinical trial.
“Mum’s treatment at The Christie prolonged her life. It gave her more time to create special memories and have more family holidays, which I will be forever grateful for.
“Her condition rapidly went downhill in January 2020 and mum’s final two weeks were spent in the hospital. The care and kindness of the ward staff at that time were second to none. In the darkest of times, they were amazing. Mum sadly passed away in February 2020 at the age of 64.
“I got extra time with my mum because of the work of The Christie, and I just want to give something back that will allow other people to benefit from the treatments, care and love they provide, in what are very difficult times.”
Angela also has a lot to be thankful for, as her partner Pete Smith, aged 40, was treated at The Christie for testicular cancer 16 years ago. They met later on, following Pete’s recovery, and now have 2 children, Maisie aged 10 and Joseph aged 8. Pete is an NHS physiotherapist.
“Following my diagnoses in 2006, I had surgery to remove one testicle,” said Pete. “I then had chemotherapy at The Christie over several months and had more surgery to remove lymph nodes from my back where there was a small tumour in the abdomen. Everything is fine now, and I have been all clear for over 10 years.
“Being near to The Christie meant I was able to receive quick treatment and assessment. If I had been anywhere else, I would not have received their expert, quality care. The Christie offered me counselling and I had access to a chill-out area in the teenage and young adult unit, with things like a pool table.”
Angela is now urging other cyclists in the North West to sign up for the famous bike ride. “The Christie supports so many patients and families every single year, and in the darkest saddest times, provides hope, support and kindness,” she said. “I think everyone in our area knows someone who has benefitted from the treatment and care at The Christie, and it is great to give back to a charity that helps so many.”
The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS funds. This includes money for care and treatment, research, education and extra patient services. Gifts from the public make a huge difference to the care and treatment that The Christie is able to provide to patients and their families.
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was the first specialist trust to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ twice (in 2016 and 2018) by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It referred to The Christie as ‘a leader in cancer care’ and ‘a pioneer in developing innovative solutions to cancer care.’ The CQC praised the Trust’s staff which it said ‘go the extra mile to meet the needs of patients and their families’ and that they were ‘exceptionally kind and caring.’ In 2017, the CQC rated The Christie as the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.