A biker from Southampton is planning to ride over 1000 miles on his motorbike in 24 hours to fund research into his wife’s rare form of brain cancer.
Barry Johnson, owner of BJ’s Tattoo Studio on Bridge Road in Woolston decided to organise the charity ride after feeling “helpless” following his wife Lucy’s devastating cancer diagnosis in July 2019.
Barry, 49, said: “I thought, let’s do something that will help other people.”
The 1100-mile ride from Southampton to Scotland’s Ben Nevis and back is currently planned for the 8th May 2021.
Lucy Johnson, 39, was diagnosed with grade 4 glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord.
The diagnosis followed years of headaches and dizzy spells.
Unbelievably, 9 years ago Barry’s sister Sarah Yorke also suffered with the same rare condition, which sees only 2,200 cases diagnosed in England each year.
“You couldn’t write it in a country song,” said Barry.
According to The Brain Tumour Charity only 3.3% of glioblastoma patients survive beyond two years post-diagnosis.
“My sister was only given 14 months by the doctors and unbelievably she’s had no recurrences and has managed to survive this long,” he said.
Barry is currently juggling running the tattoo studio, which has been in business for 21 years, whilst caring full-time for his wife during lockdown.
He said: “I’ve luckily got a team that’s keeping the shop afloat and I’m trying to work very little because Lucy can’t really be left alone anymore.”
Lucy has recently finished a course of radiotherapy and is waiting for a date to re-start chemotherapy treatment.
The couple have been making the most of “quality time” together during lockdown with their 16-year-old daughter Tiana (nicknamed Tink).
A Facebook fundraising page for the event has raised over £2000 in eight days.
Barry’s riding buddies Danny Greenyer and Drew Richardson will join him on the road.
“We want to try to get the council involved to allow us to be able to leave from the Bargate and hopefully return to a bit of support,” said Barry.
According to the National Cancer Research Institute only 2% of UK cancer research funding goes towards brain cancer.
Donations will go towards raising awareness and funding research into glioblastoma.