10 Jun | 14:07 PM

Yorkshire’s cycle star Lizzie in tour de hospital

Yorkshire’s cycle star Lizzie in tour de hospital for the Official Fundraising Partner of 2019 UCI Road World Championships

A world champion cyclist had a tour of the hospital she was born in while learning about the work of charity Leeds Cares, the official fundraising partner of the UCI Road World Championships.

Lizzie Deignan spent the afternoon visiting patients at Leeds General Infirmary – where she was born – and Leeds Children’s Hospital in her new role as ambassador for Leeds Cares, which is the charity dedicated to supporting exceptional healthcare for the people of Leeds, Yorkshire and beyond.

The charity shared with Lizzie some of the new projects and on-going appeals they’re fundraising for in 2019, which will be supported by funds raised at the UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire this September.

These include a support programme for families of neonatal babies, a new exercise and rehab programme for major trauma patients and the purchase of a world-class rehabilitation machine - the BTE primus - for patients suffering from complex limb disorders.

The Yorkshire pro-cyclist visited the neonatal wards of Leeds Children’s Hospital then moved on to the trauma centre at Leeds General Infirmary before meeting a team of anaesthetists who have all committed to ride the official sportive of the 2019 UCI Road World Championships to raise money for Leeds Cares.

Lizzie also met Simon Lewis, who in 2015 suffered a broken neck and other major injuries after a car struck him while out cycling. Thanks to the care he received he is now saddling up for the UCI Official Sportive on September 22 in order to raise money for Leeds Cares – and Lizzie gave him a few tips.

Lizzie said: “It was quite an emotional return to the place where I was born as I got to see first-hand the contributions made by Leeds Cares to the wards. It’s everything from major pieces of equipment to building refurbishments. It was lovely meeting the new parents and babies on the neonatal ward, but also learning about the challenges that premature babies can bring.

“The projects Leeds Cares supports are life changing. Supporting families, improving access to counselling services, making the wards better – it all helps in a very real way. Simon’s story was also really inspirational and to think just a few years ago he wasn’t sure what the future held to now cycling every day is incredible. I’ve no doubt he’ll absolutely smash the sportive and good luck to him.”

Leeds Cares donates around £14 million every year to support all the departments at Leeds Teaching Hospitals – from the Children’s Hospital to the Cancer Centre. As the fundraising partner of the 2019 UCI Road World Championships, the charity is hoping to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds from the event towards new projects across the hospitals to further help people from Yorkshire and beyond.

CEO David Welch said “It’s been a pleasure welcoming Lizzie to Leeds Teaching Hospitals. Lizzie was actually born at the LGI just over thirty years ago and so it’s great to be showing her around the wards and the difference that charity support can make. The charity provides support in all areas of the hospital ensuring that care here isn’t just good, it can be exceptional. Lizzie has been inspiring all the riders in the upcoming 2019 UCI Road World Championships’ official sportive to get out there, get training and raise as much money as possible for Leeds Cares in the process.

“We are extremely excited about how we can support our hospitals through new projects, but to make them a reality we need to raise the money. Thanks to the UCI and their support, we have this unrivalled opportunity. So we would welcome anyone who wants to raise money for us to do so. It could be a team of 10 who want to sign up for a corporate sportive slot, a rotary club collecting money, or a class of children doing a sponsored bike ride. Whatever it is, however much it is, it all helps.”

David Lappartient, President of the Union Cycliste Internationale, said: “This partnership with Leeds Cares as Official Fundraising Partner of the 2019 UCI Road World Championships is an opportunity to demonstrate the power of sport and leave a lasting and positive effect for healthcare in the country. The donations of Leeds Care to the hospitals of Leeds, Yorkshire and beyond make us very proud to be associated with such an organisation. The work of Leeds Cares is truly inspirational and exemplifies the far-reaching benefits that our World Championships can bring.”

As part of the fundraising activities, 400 places in the official sportive of the 2019 Road World Championships – including 70 reserved for NHS staff – have also been guaranteed for people raising money for Leeds Cares, with every penny going directly to the charity. Places are already booking up fast, but some remain for all three route distances, including for the long route which is currently sold out.

The eight-day 2019 UCI Road World Championships from September 22 to 29 will see some of the world’s best cyclists travel to Yorkshire for men’s and women’s races, across age groups from Junior to Elite. Every day will see a start in different towns and cities throughout Yorkshire, with each finishing in the main competition town of Harrogate.

3 months ago
Written by Tom Ashurst

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