Bristol to Bejing

Meet Luke Grenfell. Luke is cycling from Bristol to Beijing to raise funds for cancer charities, and to show people that even with cancer we can live rich and fulfilled lives.

In 2018, at age 24, Luke was diagnosed with stage four cancer. During his first round of chemotherapy, Luke lost his brother, John, who fell to his death in the Lake District. Barely able to grieve for John, Luke underwent chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. By the end of the year, his determination to live fully despite cancer, saw him complete the Bristol Half Marathon in 1 hour 20 mins. He’d also started a Masters at the University of Oxford.

A year later Luke graduated and was ready to launch himself into his next adventure: a 30,000 km cycle from Bristol to Beijing on a tandem bicycle. He’d be crossing 30 countries on three wheels, and where possible, cycling with others like him.

Luke set out on January 1st 2020. It was in March, with Luke somewhere in Germany, when the Covid pandemic hit. He had to return home and go into lockdown along with everyone else. When the lockdown ended, Luke made a decision to continue his journey. “I live from scan to scan,” he says, “and I simply don’t know if the next scan result will send me back to hospital. So despite the uncertainties and risks of restarting I felt I couldn’t put my life on hold because of Covid.”

Luke is helping to rewrite the narrative of what is possible with a cancer diagnosis. He defines himself as a motivational speaker, cyclist and canliver. A canliver is a term Luke seems to have coined himself, which is catching on. It’s a person living with cancer, facing uncertainty and challenge on a daily basis, yet acknowledging they can still live a rich and full life.

Luke began the 5th leg of his journey, cycling through Pakistan on October 26th 2021. He’s visited Shaukat Khanum Hospital, where he was welcomed by Dr Muhammed Aasim Yusuf, along with Shaukat Khanum Hospital’s cancer survivors. “Pakistan is a very hospitable country and it is an honour to be here.” Luke said, on his visit. “Organisations like Shaukat Khanum give me hope that people across the globe, especially those with limited means, can be treated and cared for if and when a cancer diagnosis may arise. I am happy Bristol2Beijing can play a small part in supporting their incredibly important and ongoing work.”

You can follow Luke’s journey through his website, where he posts blogs and weekly podcasts about the experiences he has along the way. Luke’s epic cycle is helping to raise funds for partner cancer charities, including Shaukat Khanum Hospital. You can support the cause by donating through his gofundme page.

Luke has dedicated what time he has to completing his journey with other canlivers around the world and immersing himself in experiences. His efforts drive home a powerful message: “You can’t start living ‘tomorrow’. Each passing day should be rich and fulfilling – if this doesn’t happen today, it never will. Living like this is in part mindset, and in part creating opportunities.”

Inspired to do more in 2022? IKCA has a whole host of challenges and events you can take part in, ranging from exciting, overseas treks in Pakistan to online fitness classes in the comfort of your home. Sign up for a challenge or two today, and nab those opportunities to make every moment of life rich and fulfilling. Do it, while raising funds for patients facing cancer, so that they can have a chance at a full life too. Browse IKCA’s 2022 challenges here.

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