Fundraiser Peter Williams is riding his daughter’s bicycle on a 211-mile ride from Bristol to Land’s End in memory of her, passing through the Burnham-On-Sea area.
His daughter, Ellie, died of a rare form of brain cancer in 2015, at the age of seven.
“Ellie loved cycling and learned to ride a bike without stabilisers when she was just three,” says Peter.
“I’ll never forget how happy and proud she looked of herself – nearly as proud as I was!”
Ellie died from an incurable, highly aggressive Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) in 2015, six months after she was diagnosed.
Peter is raising money towards research on brain cancer. He has already passed his £10,000 target for The Brain Tumour Charity and has raised over £20,000 so far.
Ellie, who loved tennis and gymnastics, was diagnosed during a half-term break in London in October 2014.
Just before their trip, he and Kaz noticed Ellie’s right eye was looking “a bit strange.” It sometimes looked boss-eyed and pointed inwards a little.
“At first, we put it down to her just being silly and pulling funny faces like kids do,” he adds. “We’d also noticed that she would occasionally stumble.”
When her eye was still turning inwards during their break, they took her to be checked over at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.
“They said that her eyes were fine and she should have an urgent MRI scan,” said Peter. “We went straight to Hillingdon Hospital, Uxbridge.”
Doctors found out about Ellie’s brain tumour and she was immediately sent to Bristol Children’s Hospital.
The tumour was inoperable because it was in her brain stem and they told us she had six-12 months to live. “Our world was turned upside down,” he says.
Ellie died in her parents’ arms at Little Harbour children’s hospice in St Austell, Cornwall on April 4th, 2015 – just six months after being diagnosed.
Peter left Bristol’s Children’s Hospital at 10am on Friday (21st September), as pictured below.
He is currently riding through Somerset, including the Burnham-On-Sea area, Devon and Cornwall, aiming to reach Land’s End by Friday 28th September.
Inspired by daughter Ellie’s love for cycling, Peter says he has been “overwhelmed” by people’s support.
“It’s been such a painful time and we couldn’t have got through our loss without our family and friends.”
“More research into brain tumours is vital and if I can help save just one family from our heartache, then it’s worth it.”
His bike ride has already taken him from Bristol through to Axbridge and through the villages of Mark and East Huntspill.
He added: “Ellie would laugh at me riding her bike – and she’ll inspire me every push of the pedals.”
His wife, Kaz Williams, adds: “I thought Peter was a bit bonkers when he first mentioned the idea!”
“But it’s a really touching way to remember Ellie and bring something positive out of losing her by raising money for a cause so close to our hearts.”
“Joe and I are very proud of him and I know Ellie would be proud of her daddy, too.”
To donate towards the charity, see: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thelittlepinkbike