Death defying Chris seeks sponsors for Paris to London cycle ride

Written by Gerald Isaaman.

Now returning to health after defeating cancer, former Marlborough retailer Chris Birkett is seeking sponsors for his plans to take part in next year’s London to Paris cycle ride to raise funds for research and the hospital that saved his life.

Chris, now 40, launched the Ducklings toy shop in Marlborough in 2009 and while running it for two years was chairman of the Retail Forum of Marlborough Chamber of Commerce, fighting in particular the road closures that hit the town during the replacement of the Pewsey Road bridge.

He had already had one health scare which resulted in a kidney transplant five years ago. Then he was diagnosed late last year with Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer.

That resulted in him receiving 16 sessions of chemotherapy, each last four hours and spread over two weekly intervals, which has kept him alive, but also meant he had to sell the Ducklings business.

“Although I’ll never get an all clear, partly due to the kidney transplant, things are looking positive and no more treatment is necessary at the moment,” Chris told Marlborough News Online.  “Even my hair has grown back, although it’s come back ginger again – damn!”

He now wants to show his appreciation for the “fantastic team” at Southmeads Hospital, Bristol, by raising a minimum of £1,400 for lymphona cancer research by taking part in the London to Paris cycle ride in August next year.

“It consists of four days of cycling and totals some 300 miles,” he explained. “So I need to start training very soon.  And any extra sponsorship I raise will be split between kidney research and Southmead Hospital.”

He added: “I know we’re in difficult times at the moment, but any donations would be very gratefully received.  This can be done through my page at Just Giving ---