AN ISLANDER who lost her husband to cancer is undertaking a cycle ride to raise cash for a charity in Ecuador that helps provide hospice home care.
Gerry Martin (64), of Les Fourneaux, St Brelade, will cycle 326 km, starting on Thursday 18 September, from Passau, Germany to Vienna in Austria to raise cash for the palliative care charity in Quito, run by Dr Nicky Bailhache. She wanted to raise cash for people not as fortunate and who have to pay for cancer treatment.
Half of the money she raises will also go to Jersey Hospice who helped her with bereavement counselling after her husband, Alan, died of non Hodgkin’s lymphoma in May 2007. The idea for the cycle ride came from a German book she was reading in her bid to learn the language for when she visits her daughter, Christine, in Berlin.
An advert in the book detailed the cycle ride and Gerry, a mother of two, decided to sign up with it with her sister Marjorie (59) and their friend June. The task she has set herself is all the more impressive as Mrs Martin suffers from a chronic lung condition called Bronchiectasis which has resulted in her having a half a lung removed.
She already has £1,000 in sponsorship money but wants to reach her target of £2,000.
Gerry, who works part time at St Paul’s Centre in Dumaresq Street, said that she was looking forward to the eight-day challenge.
She added: ‘The oncology department were marvellous and the care that Alan received was wonderful. But, we do not have to wonder whether we can afford cancer treatment in Jersey, but in Quito families are poor and can’t afford the treatment. If we had to pay for the treatment here for Alan, with chemotherapy bags costing £1,000 each, I would have had to sell my house.’
She said that a talk that Dr Bailhache gave this week about the parents of a 20-year-old girl who died of cancer in Quito, and who are now £16,000 in debt because of the treatment she received brought it into sharp focus. ‘I just think that we are so fortunate over here to have the treatment free of charge and I thought that this bike ride would be a good way of raising money to help people who haven’t got access to treatment.’
• Anyone who wishes to sponsor Gerry can contact her on 07797 748926.