Bildeston friends on target for £15,000

TWO women who have had their lives touched by cancer are preparing to cycle across India for charity – having already raised £12,000 towards the cause.

Fiona Crabtree and Kathy Stapleton, both from Bildeston, will be pedaling from the Taj Mahal in Agra to the “Pink City” of Jaipur for Woman V Cancer next month.

The pair have been cycling 50 miles at a time to get in shape for their 190-mile ride and are both motivated by personal experience.

Fiona, who owns Pressgang dry cleaners in Hadleigh, was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago.

“I ended up having a lot of operations but I was lucky that the cancer didn’t travel,” said the 53-year-old.

“Anything I can do to help the fight against cancer I will.”

Kathy’s husband, Michael, battled leukaemia 12 years ago and still needs tests every three months to make sure it stays in remission.

Fiona said this had spurred the duo into taking on the challenge and they were determined to complete the ride.

“To be honest, so many people have supported us that if we have to walk the distance, we will,” she said.

“Everyone in Bildeston has been so supportive of us, setting up events to raise money and making donations themselves.

“It is amazing how much money people have given us for the ride.”

It is hoped the cycle, starting on October 21, will raise £15,000 for charity, and Fiona said both she and friend Kathy, 56, were confident of reaching the target.

“We managed to raise £5,000 last month after a Caribbean barbecue was put on for us,” said Fiona.

“It was incredible to raise so much money in just one night.”

Fiona, a Bury St Edmunds magistrate, added that after her cancer ordeal she wanted to give something back to help other people in her situation.

“It certainly puts it all in perspective,” she said.

“I am just lucky because I survived my cancer and am able to do these things.”

q To find out more and to make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/fionaandkathy.