5000mile cycle for Eugene’s Uni fund

Hi, my name is Carin and the photo above is of Eugene.  I propose to cycle 5000 miles (8046 km) until the end of June this year, by spinning, wattbike and roadbike with the help of my daughter, Anna, to raise the funds Eugene needs for his final year at University. The mileage represents the distance between England and Malawi. We need to raise £87 a day if we are going to hit our target of £13,000.

Here’s why we are taking up this massive challenge to help him:

Eugene has been part of our family for several years – he and Anna met for the first time at college. He was, and still is, the type of person that’s popular with everyone, the all singing all dancing (literally) life of the party, the captain of the college basketball team and honest supporter of his local church. He has a heart of gold and couldn’t be a better role model for his eight year old brother, a family friend even said to him, “I hope my son grows up to be like you”. It’s thanks to his kindness that Anna and I are risking getting seriously chunky quads.

Eugene is 22, and has been a resident in the UK since he moved here at age seven from Malawi, Africa, with his family. With 15 years in this country under his belt, Eugene is still waiting for the day that he can become a British citizen.

But how does that affect his education?

The biggest sticking point is student finance – as an ‘international’ student, Eugene isn’t eligible for the loan. The fee is not just £9,000, but £13,000 per annum, not including accommodation, bills etc.

This is not the kind of funds many families have and that is especially true for Eugene’s whose parents have worked as carers to provide for themselves since they arrived in England.

To get Eugene through the first year of university his parents sold all their land in Malawi which was supposed to support their retirement. In his second year a miracle was provided when a church group anonymously raised and donated several thousand pounds to Eugene, as well as loans from friends.

This year Eugene has been interning in the finance industry to gain valuable work experience. He was hoping he would be able to change his fee status this summer to make his final year of studying affordable, but as is stands currently, the likelihood of a change is negligible. He needs our help more than ever.

What’s Eugene to do? Quit? To be so close to finishing, and considering the financial sacrifices his parents and friends have made, it would be a cruel waste of time, money and all the effort that has gone into enabling him to study thus far. We cannot allow it to be that because of reasons beyond his control he may fall at the final hurdle. My daughter and I are passionate about helping, even if it means cycling our legs off!

Aside from the money already spent on getting Eugene this far, completing his degree is essential for him to commence a career in finance where he can progress and earn enough money to pay off his debts and support his family.

Anna and I have decided that we want to give him all the support we can without offering another loan which will dramatically increase his debt obligations. 

To help support his cause Anna and I are cycling 5,000 miles by spinning, wattbike, and roadbike between now and June (the distance from England to Malawi) to help raise his funds. Our target is £13,000, but we are going to need a lot of help to achieve it!

Please show your support and give us a helping hand by donating to this cause. By doing so you’ll know that you’re changing his life for the better.

Eugene's story:

My family and I have worked so tirelessly to get me to this point in my studies. So far, my parents have made a lot of sacrifices to ensure I get the same access to Higher Education as my peers. Not completing this last year at uni would be an absolute catastrophe for us, having come so far. After receiving a great deal of support from family and friends, falling at the last hurdle would mean all those sacrifices would have been in vain.

My placement year has hugely motivated me towards completing my degree and I am worried that my aspirations of a career in the financial sector will come to nothing. My degree will enable me to find a good job so that I can support my parents financially as they have done for me. Please support me, Carin and Anna who are cycling all those long long miles.

Thank you!

Please share this post to friends, family, neighbours, cats and dogs… anyone can help. If you share on social media please use the hashtag #FundEugene
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Carin Dutton 
Teddington, ENG