Cancer diagnoses inspires grandfather to take on 1,000 mile cycle challenge

Chris Tunstall, centre, in Mallorca during a cycle ride with brother-in-law Paul Waite, and sister, Mandy Waite. NNL-180905-092714001
Chris Tunstall, centre, in Mallorca during a cycle ride with brother-in-law Paul Waite, and sister, Mandy Waite. NNL-180905-092714001

A grandfather and keen cyclist whose family was hit by cancer twice in the space of four weeks will be biking 1,000 miles for charity.

In August 2017 Chris Tunstall’s wife, Ruby, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer then only four weeks late his grandson, Marco, aged two, was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Although both Mrs Tunstall, who lives in Banbury, and Marco, who lives with his parents in Deddington, have responded well to treatment, Mr Tunstall plans to take on a series of cycling challenges in a bit to raise £10,000 for Blood Wise which funds research into all forms of blood cancer.

He has already cycled 416 miles by completing the Cotswold Cyclo, the Ridgeway Rouleur, and a bike ride around Mallorca.

This weekend, he will be riding the 180-mile London Revolution – on the same day he celebrates his 62nd birthday.

Mr Tunstall said: “It has been a challenge – I wouldn’t say it has been easy. I am a member of Banbury Cycling Club which has been helpful. They’ve given me good advice.”

The Mallorca bike ride, which took place between April 26 and 30, included a number of challenges such as cycling up a 10km long hill.

Mr Tunstall said: “I had to cycle upwards with a long downhill as a result, which was great, but also there’s part of Sa Calobra with a long downhill, but there’s only one way back!”

This weekend’s London Revolution loops around the capital, from Lee Valley Athletics Centre, through central London, the North Downs, Windsor Great Park, the Chiltern Hills and Epping Forest.

Mr Tunstall’s family has been showing some signs of recovery. He said: “My wife had a fairly major operation and we visited the oncologist last week and a scan found no evidence of cancer.

“We don’t have to go back for another four months which is really good news. Marco is responding well to his treatment which is a lot longer. Everybody has high hopes and on the whole it has been very positive.”

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/1000milesformarco