EMAS paramedic set to cycle over 1,000 miles to raise money for brain tumour research
A paramedic whose 17-year-old son lost his four-year battle with a brain tumour is set to cycle more than 1,000 miles to raise money for charity.
Michael White, a Duty Operations Manager in Nottinghamshire, will be cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats with a dedicated team of 11 friends with the hopes of raising between £100,000 and £150,000 for The Sam White Legacy.
Michael's son, Sam was diagnosed with a brain tumour after suffering frequent headaches and collapsed at home on 12 March 2009.
Despite four years of treatment, Sam died in September 2013 aged 17.
Michael said: “Sam was a normal fit boy. He played many sports, and hockey and football were his favourites.
“When Sam started secondary school, he coached hockey to Year 9 children who were two years older than him."
In his final years, young Sam went on to do remarkable things which is what motivates Michael to continue his legacy through the charity.
Michael said: “Sam lobbied MPs at the Houses of Parliament to get them to sign a charter to raise more awareness and invest more research into treatments of brain tumours in children.
“One of his proudest moments was carrying the Olympic torch through Newark during the 2012 games.”
The Sam White Legacy hopes to raise between £100,000 to £150,000 with this charity attempt. This money will enable them to continue to support children with brain tumours and their families.
The Sam White Legacy will use the money raised to continue to send up to 10 families a year on respite trips to Center Parcs, and the charity is also funding a two-year salary for a research nurse at Queen's Medical Centre.
Money raised in the past by the charity has also provided QMC with a mock MRI Scanner, situated in the Sir Peter Mansfield suite.
Michael said: “Sam woke up in a real MRI scanner after he was rushed into one while he was still unconscious.
"He started to panic, which was obviously a distressing experience for him and us as his parents.”
Mock MRI scanners can ease children into the treatment process, meaning that they don’t require anaesthetisation. This reduces recovery time for the child and reduces stress for the entire family.
Recently, a five-year-old girl needed a scan - something she would have normally needed a general anaesthetic for to ease her anxiety.
However, the play therapists and radiologists were able to introduce her to the mock MRI scanner, and once she felt comfortable, she was moved to the real MRI for a straightforward ten-minute procedure.
Michael and his cycling team will take on the challenge on 25 August, and hope to finish by 7 September.
Michael has been training for the past five months as he knows this is no easy feat, but he is determined to raise vital funds to enhance the lives of children like his son.
As part of his training scheme, Michael will cycle 60 miles a day over three days in July, starting from Newark and ending up at different locations across the East Midlands.
You can follow the team’s progress throughout the route nearer the time by visiting The Sam White Legacy Website