Tearful end to cancer sufferer’s Rome cycle

AFTER 36 days on the road, cycling almost 1,900 miles, yesterday, Jane Tomlinson finished her most gruelling feat yet.

The amazing challenge has taken the mother-of-three, who has terminal cancer, and her brother, Luke Goward, through Paris, Amiens, Monte Carlo, Florence, Pisa and up the legendary cycling challenge Mont Ventoux.

So far the tandem bike ride has raised stg£148,000 for charity. This is on top of the stg£500,000 the paediatric radiographer raised with other high profile challenges including three marathons, a triathlon, a half ironman triathlon and a bike ride from John O'Groats to Land's End.

Crying tears of joy, Jane embraced her husband and children after cycling into Leeds today to complete her epic Rome to Home bike ride.

"You're not home until you are with your family," she said tearfully.

"I'm just so glad to be back and I really, really mean it this is the end of my fundraising."

Thousands gathered to welcome Mrs Tomlinson and her brother.

Colleagues from Leeds General Infirmary and St James's Hospital in Leeds, where the pair work, also turned out.

Tomlinson has suffered from cancer for the last 14 years. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in July 1990. She underwent a mastectomy and had the lymph nodes under her arms removed and the cancer went into remission.

But, in 1993, she found out that the cancer had re-occurred in the tissue around the breast and she underwent a course of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

In 2000, her husband Mike, 43, and children Suzanne, 19, Rebecca, 16, and Steven, seven, learned the devastating news that the cancer had spread to her bones and lungs and Jane was going to die.

The family expected her to last only a few months but she started a course of chemotherapy to stop the spread of the disease, which finished in 2001. This was when she took part in her first race, in May, and ran the 5km Race For Life, before tackling the London Marathon in 2002.

Even though her time with her family is limited, the brave woman has spent 36 days away from them and from her job as a paediatric radiographer.

They were given a send-off in St Peter's Square by the mayor of Rome and the deputy British ambassador the Catholic siblings even received a blessing from the Pope.

In Paris, the British ambassador invited them to stay at his personal residence, gave them an official reception at the Embassy.

Her husband, Mike, wept with pride as he spoke of his wife's achievements.

"At one point Jane couldn't even walk from one end of Leeds to another to do this is amazing.

"Jane's life, ultimately, is going to be a tragedy. It's not going to be a happy Hollywood ending.

"She's not Lance Armstrong and she's never going to recover. But today, today is not a tragedy it's a triumph."


More in this section

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox