Inspiring story behind Luke's Bristol to Beijing ride
R & R in France between chemotherapy treatments
A MAN from Westbury-on-Trym has set off on on a challenging year-long cycle ride to raise funds for cancer charities.
Luke Grenfell-Shaw, 25,has founded a charity called CanLive to show what is possible with a cancer diagnosis.
The tandem trip provides an opportunity for Luke to share the experience with friends, family, and with other young CanLivers, people living with cancer who are inspired to live life to the full and maximise their longevity.
CanLive was launched on 19 October 2019, and aims to raise awareness and funds during the ride from Bristol, UK, to Beijing, China.
Luke was diagnosed with a Stage IV sarcoma (a rare cancer which had spread from his shoulder blade to his lungs) in June 2018. Determined to take charge of his life and live it to the maximum, he has dedicated his time to a series of sporting challenges for both physical and mental wellbeing, including an 80-minute half marathon halfway through chemotherapy.
As part of the challenge Luke is hoping to raise funds for cancer charities that have supported him, including CLIC Sargeant, Move Against Cancer (5K Your Way), Trekstock, and the Teenage Cancer Trust. The initial goal to raise £23,000 or £1 for every kilometre cycled on his expedition has been reached only 15 days into the twelve month Bristol2Beijing tandem cycling expedition.
“It’s so humbling to see so much support so early in my journey!” said Luke. “For me, this is a clear sign that the CanLive idea is really resonating with people. I’m looking forward to all the impact we can continue to have as we spread the CanLive message through the Bristol2Beijing ride and continue to raise funds for these amazing charities who are doing such important work in the UK.”
It is fitting that the final donation contributed to achieving the initial fundraising goal came from the Cambridge University Cycling Club, with whom Luke’s late brother John cycled during his undergraduate and graduate years at Cambridge.
Luke has dedicated the Bristol2Beijing expedition in his memory. In the few weeks after Luke’s diagnosis and before John’s death, John had begun making plans to join Luke for large portions of the expedition that Luke then dreamed of making. To honour John’s intent to join him, Luke has named the tandem “Chris” in memory of his brother, John Christopher Grenfell-Shaw.
On January 1, Elena (another CanLiver also in her twenties) joined Luke on the tandem as they and a group of supporters cycled away from Bristol Grammar School at noon. The first leg of Luke’s journey includes a six week, 2,200km cycling tour of Great Britain, including stops to meet with CanLivers and speak with young people who may be inspired by his story and message.
Luke’s route will take him through over 20 countries along the ancient and modern Silk Roads: through Europe to Istanbul, and onwards through Iran, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Luke is a graduate of both Durham (studies included Russian and Arabic) and Oxford (MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management) universities, leading to his interest in the Silk Roads, and he hopes to arrive in Beijing by Christmas 2020.
Speaking about the challenge, Luke said: “The ride is not just about inspiring people living with cancer: the ethos of making the most of the time you have applies to us all and none of us know when our tomorrows will end. This expedition would be seriously challenging even for someone living without cancer, however I want to show that despite a cancer diagnosis you can set your own horizons; that you need not be labelled and limited by it, rather it’s your dreams that determine your achievements.”
To find out more about Luke’s challenge and the CanLive movement, visit: bristol2beijing.org.
To donate, visit Luke’s Virgin Money Giving page: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LukeGrenfellShaw