On the 4th of August 2013, my husband John and I took part in the first RideLondon-Surrey 100 mile challenge, to raise money for CRY in memory of Chloe Waddell.
Chloe lived in Manchester with her family, attended Altrincham Grammar School and was a talented swimmer – competing in the national team and taking part in the Olympic trials for London 2012.
But most of all Chloe was a much loved daughter, sister, niece, grand-daughter and popular friend to many.
On the 3rd of February this year, Chloe died suddenly and totally unexpectedly, at just 16 years of age. We didn’t know Chloe but are friends with her Aunt, Lyn, and had enjoyed hearing how she was getting on over the years.
We were so shocked when we heard that Chloe had died from an undiagnosed heart condition and wanted to do something. I am a cardiac nurse, but even I had no idea of the number of young people who die each year in similar circumstances to Chloe. I thought that sudden cardiac death was rare, but over 600 young people a year is not rare.
Whilst we are keen cyclists, we had never cycled 100 miles before and did a lot of training to make sure we could do it. We had an amazing day, it was such a great event, so well organised and a truly unique experience to cycle for 100 miles with not one car on the road!
We cycled from the Olympic Park past a lot of the London landmarks, out to Surrey and through some stunning scenery. Up a few hills including a back-breaker called Leith Hill which felt like it would never end!
Then we headed back towards London with the final very memorable few miles over Putney Bridge, along past MI5, Parliament Square, Whitehall and up the Mall.
There were a lot of supporters out on the streets (John waved to most of them!) and it was a great atmosphere – surprisingly not that crowded on the route with nearly 16,500 cyclists taking part.
It took us just under 7 hours; we stopped at some of the food stops and for a few photos, and generally made sure we enjoyed the occasion. We felt very proud to wear our CRY t-shirts and honoured to cycle in Chloe’s memory.
Our family and friends were very generous in their support, we had donations from as far away as Australia and New Zealand, and raised over £1300. Chloe’s story has touched many people and we hope that CRY can use the money raised to help prevent other families from losing their loved ones to undiagnosed heart conditions.