A nine year old boy from County Durham has completed a gruelling 140 mile coast to coast cycle ride to raise money for Bliss, a charity that cares for babies who were born premature and sick, just like him.
Finn Crowder completed the challenge in three days with his dad Ben in order to raise money for Bliss, the special care baby charity. Their cycle began at Whitehaven on Friday 29 May and finished in Sunderland on Sunday 31 May.
They encountered some difficult weather conditions and tough climbs, but Finn’s determination never wavered, so much so that on one hill when he misjudged the correct gear and had to get off his bike, he stopped, turned around and went back to the bottom in order to ride up again.
He completed each of the three days cycling without walking and managed to cycle for about six hours each day, much to the amazement of other cyclists on the route.
Finn’s dad Ben said: “It was truly inspiring stuff to witness and throughout the journey Finn received some incredible support from other cyclists, but more remarkably he actually gave support and encouragement to some who found the ride difficult.”
Finn decided he wanted to raise money for Bliss after completing a school project about when he was born. He was extremely ill after being born nine weeks early in June 2005. He had significant problems with his lungs and was in and out of hospital in his early life because of this.
Finn’s parents Ben and Tracy said: “We have watched him grow and develop from a frail, small baby to a thriving boy who is fit and well and can achieve pretty much anything he puts his mind too. We could never have imagined that our tiny sick baby would grow into such a strong and inspirational individual.
“We have been completely overwhelmed by the support and messages from other parents and adults who were premature themselves. It is a pretty dark place when you are the parents of a newly born sick baby and it can feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel at times.
“Finn is living proof that being born premature or sick doesn’t have to hold you back from achieving remarkable things, and we are immensely proud of him.
Finn said: “I had lots of fun doing the cycle, and I was sad when it was over. I’m happy we’ve raised so much money for Bliss and I want give hope to other parents. I want to do Land’s End to John O’Groats next!
Chief Executive of Bliss Caroline Davey said: “We were astounded upon learning of Finn’s challenge. The coast to coast would be difficult for most adults, let alone a nine year old. We are so grateful to Finn for working so hard to help babies born premature and sick and we can’t wait to see what his next challenge will be.”
Bliss is the charity dedicated to improving the outcomes of babies born premature and sick, and ensuring they have the best possible chance of survival and of reaching their full potential. They also provide invaluable support to families, during what can be a very stressful and lonely time.
If you would like to sponsor Finn and Ben, you can visit their JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/finncrowder/