From Cumbernauld to Loch Morlich – today!
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An epic journey is under way to Loch Morlich today by a team of 11 cyclists in the memory of a man who until his death at just 45 had found it to be his spiritual home.
‘Mikey to Morlich’ is the flagship event in a series of events and challenges in a newly born ‘Move 4 Mikey’ Fundraiser, Service engineer Mikey Gillespie had been a fit, healthy, non-smoker when he was diagnosed with mouth cancer.
“For years he loved coming to the strath,” said brother-in-law Darren Murray, “and especially the loch, until he was sadly taken before his time from the spread of mouth cancer.
“Through our ride we plan to raise awareness for early detection of head, neck and mouth cancer and also to raise much-needed funds for Oracle Cancer Trust – they are UK leaders in pioneering research into diagnosis and treatment.”
He and his fellow riders are cycling 138 miles from Mikey’s resting place at Eastfield Cemetery in Cumbernauld in his memory.
Mr Murray explained: “We plan to ride north traversing notable climbs ‘Tak-Me-Doon’ and top 100 climb ‘Glen Quaich’ along the way.
“All going well and with favourable conditions we hope to reach Loch Morlich10 to 16 hours after we roll off.
“It’s a ride of over 200km with over 10,000 feet of climbing, a marathon and challenging day in the saddle for the band of brothers undertaking it, but for an amazing cause and purpose.”
Mr Gillespie passed away on August 4, 2019 just 18 months after his initial diagnoses having undergoing three major debilitating surgeries and countless treatments.
Mr Murray said: “Yet he always remained so positive and upbeat throughout. He left behind his wife Suzy, daughter Holly and son Josh who continue to holiday in Aviemore.
“Mikey loved holidaying in the strath, zip sliding at Alvie, quad biking in Rothiemurchis, having pints in the Cairngorm or Old Bridge Inn and, especially being at Loch Morlich when he visited – with a BBQ when it was allowed.”
Mr Murray is just as devoted to the strath, the ‘semi-resident’ of Aviemore spending most weekends here for the last 13 years – during which he has been a champion at Boat of Garten Golf club and Boat Open winner.
“Last year I wanted to raise funds in the memory of Mikey and as a keen cyclist, I decided I would train to do an ‘Everesting’ of the ski road to Cairngorm Mountain which I successfully completed last July. During that fundraiser a lot of Mikey’s friends and family spoke of how they wanted to do something themselves to raise funds in his memory .
“So my sister Suzy, (Mikey’s wife) and I decided to create the ‘Move 4 Mikey’ fundraiser, a collective of unique challenges and events that promote an active and fun lifestyle whilst raising awareness and much needed funds for Oracle Cancer Trust.
“Head, neck and mouth cancer is the UK’s sixth fastest growing cancer yet only receives two per cent of the funding in research.
“That’s why we want to help.
“So along with the small group of riders who helped me last year, like Aviemore’s own Craig Little, operations manager at Wilderness Scotland, we have decided to undertake an equally arduous challenge this year to Loch Morlich’s sailing club car park.
“We hope to arrive at Loch Morlich by 6pm.
“All arriving safe and sound, we plan to then return to the British legion in Aviemore to raise a glass in Mikey’s memory.
“Overall, we hope to raise £10,000 so if anyone would be kind enough to donate to the cause, cheer, or peep if they see us on the road, would be a great boost and much appreciated.”
Also planned are a range of challenges and fundraisers from daily 5Ks to Glasgow mural trails, bake sales, car boot sale and golf marathons, even an online music concert.
More details can be found here