More than 30 staff from Thornaby-based filtration specialists John Morfield Ltd completed the gruelling 140-mile coast to coast bike ride and in the process raised thousands of pounds for the renal unit at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
In tribute to this mammoth feat, Dr John Main, clinical director of nephrology at the hospital, cycled to the firm’s headquarters to pick up the generous cheque.
The catalyst for this group challenge was Phil Davis, a director with the firm who was referred to the renal investigation unit at hospital where he was informed that he was suffering from deteriorating kidney function.
Phil had a successful kidney transplant last year and was so pleased with the treatment and care he received, he promised himself that he would repay the hospitals concerned with a fundraiser that would challenge him to complete.
In March 2010, his consultant Dr John Main referred him to the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, to be considered for a kidney transplant and he was added to the national organ recipient list. In January 2011 he received a call advising him a kidney was available that was a good match.
The transplant was a success and the grateful 52 year-old from Middlesbrough wanted to give something back to the renal departments at both The James Cook University Hospital and Freeman Hospital, while at the same time raising the profile of renal disease, its causes and the treatments that are available.
He vowed to get fit enough to attempt the gruelling coast-to-coast cycle ride from Whitehaven to Sunderland to raise funds for the renal research fund.
Phil’s work colleagues have been extremely supportive, so much so that 30 of them got on their bikes to ride with him.
Phil said: “The support I have had has been phenomenal. I never envisaged it being such a large event, but I’m ever so grateful to everyone involved. Initially, we had hoped to raised £10,000, but we have been overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity and have now reached £15,500.
“All the doctors and nursing staff gave me total and absolute care at every stage and I have so much gratitude for my donor and their family, for giving me the chance of a better quality of life. My transplant has been life changing; I have more energy and a better outlook on life. My immune suppression medication is for life but is a small price to pay for a healthy outcome.”
Richard Ritz, HR Manager at John Morfield Ltd, added “The cycle challenge has formed a strong team bond and we have all felt a health benefit from all the training. A lot of us have gained from a new social activity, continuing with the cycling, allowing us to enjoy more of the great outdoors.