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Pip cycles 100 miles to sign up more stem cell donors

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 August 2019

Ali (left) with Rose (centre) and Pip (right). Picture: Pip Ratcliffe

Ali (left) with Rose (centre) and Pip (right). Picture: Pip Ratcliffe

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A sound engineer last year donated her stem cells to a blood cancer patient in desperate need of a transplant - now she is , is taking on the 2019 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 race to encourage more donors to come forward.

Pip Ratcliffe at her stem cell donation which is believed to have saved a life. Picture: Pip RatcliffePip Ratcliffe at her stem cell donation which is believed to have saved a life. Picture: Pip Ratcliffe

Pip Ratcliffe, of Sidcup, decided to take on RideLondon for Anthony Nolan because one of her best friends, Rose, was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma six years ago, when she was just 22.

The gruelling 100-mile cycling event is often described as the London Marathon of the cycling world.

It starts at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, and sees riders travel through the capital, into Surrey and ends at The Mall in central London.

Through Rose's treatment, Pip became aware of Anthony Nolan's work finding matching donors for blood cancer and blood disorder patients in need of stem cell transplants and decided to join the stem cell donor register.

Pip along with another close friend, Ali, decided that joining the stem cell register wasn't quite enough and did the London Marathon.

Pip said: "After my marathon injury I decided to take on a few cycling challenges. I've already cycled London to Paris and took on the Prudential RideLondon in 2015 for Anthony Nolan.

"Rose is my inspiration when taking on these challenges and thinking of her really pushes me to complete them. She's doing really well now, she has even completed several marathons and is absolutely smashing it."

Last summer, five years after joining the stem cell register, Pip became a match for someone who needed it urgently.

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Pip said: "I was given another opportunity to help when I was told that I had been found as a match for someone! I was completely amazed and overwhelmed with this news. It was really a no brainer. Of course, I was happy to go ahead."

Blood tests confirmed Pip was the best possible match for the patient and she travelled to London to donate.

Pip said: "On donation day I couldn't believe that after all these years, and the journey we had been on, this was actually happening.

"The process was so simple, it took just about four hours and I got to sit back and watch some films. The best bit was seeing that there were six other people donating.

"Such an incredible feeling to see and to be a part of, it's hard to describe. A few hours of my time could have given that person a second chance of life.

"Donating reminded me that this was exactly the reason I'd been fundraising - to help more people get matched with stem cell donors. This year I'm just so excited and even prouder than ever to be taking part in RideLondon for Anthony Nolan. I cannot wait to wear the Anthony Nolan jersey."

Anthony Nolan is the charity that finds matching donors for people with blood cancer - and gives them a second chance of life.

It also carries out ground-breaking research to save more lives and provide information and support to patients after a stem cell transplant, through its clinical nurse specialists and psychologists, who help guide patients through their recovery.

Kirsty Mooney, head of events at Anthony Nolan, said: "We are delighted that Pip is taking on RideLondon for us this year. It costs £40 to add each new donor to the register, so the funds raised will enable us to recruit more potential stem cell donors- any one of whom could give a second chance of life to someone with blood cancer. Together, we can work towards a future where nobody is waiting for their match."

Chris Newton, three-time Olympic cycling medallist and Anthony Nolan's cycling champion, said: "As an ex-athlete, believe me, this is no walk in the park. One hundred miles is a real challenge, it really IS the London Marathon of the cycling world."

The event is on August 4.

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