Lar'y World Bike Ride
After a lengthy case of misdiagnosed "laryngitis" I found out that I had Stage I throat Cancer in June of 2010. I underwent 6 weeks of radiation, from there my life took a scary turn when in February 2011 I was diagnosed with Stage IV laryngeal cancer which meant I would have to have a radical laryngectomy. With the laryngectomy my voice box valve was removed and my airway bypassed to a hole in my neck, I was given a temporary feeding tube to help me with nourishment while I recovered. I had the surgery in Baltimore on March 18, 2011, at the John Hopkins Milton J Dance Jr. Head and Neck centre, GBMC hospital.
I have lived an adventurous life that's included wrangling deadly snakes in India, to recreating and restoring scagliola masterpieces at Buckingham palace, palaces in Dubai, the capitol building in Washington DC, and many other historical buildings around the world. I've overcome many physical challenges too, such as falling off a scaffold and breaking my neck, having a heart attack in New Orleans resulting in a fall and severe head injury that left me comatose for over 30 days and the prediction that I would never regain consciousness, much less a normal life... After an emergency flight back to the UK under my family's care, I woke up, so determined to get on with my life that I booked transfer back to the states via an Indian Cargo ship, as I was not cleared to fly. While surviving life threatening brushes with death, that would seem too crazy to be true, Cancer has been my greatest challenge yet - but not a roadblock to living my life. Although I have a hole in my neck, I have discovered it does not have to be a pain in the neck.
I have ridden down the Great Rift Valley in Africa, (raising a few thousand pounds for an alternative technology charity,) and written two books this side my laryngectomy. I have travelled the world and am the globe's leading expert in the old secret trade of Scagliola. I have won the Askins Achievement award at the IPTW and have spent many happy years since, always moving and always getting things done. Even with a prosthetic voice valve that requires replacement every so many weeks, I can even talk quite well, with my original voice, if you can understand my heavy British accent.
I am riding my bike around the entire planet now, hoping to raise awareness for those people who think there is no hope for living a normal life after cancer. I think I may just be the first human in our history with a Laryngectomy to attempt ride around the globe... not to mention I am over 70 years old.
Most people with these kinds of conditions tend to think that their life is forfeit and that they will be unsuccessful in their ventures - but I think that this outlook just lets the cancer win.
41% of the money raised will be donated to the John Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center for general cancer research and development another 41% of the money raised will be donated to "Shout at Cancer" - a UK charity that hopes to help those with Laryngectomys realize that they can still speak, sing, act and live a fulfilling life, a changed life yes, but not a life that's over!
18% of the money raised will be used to help promote and fund my bike trip around the world, raising awareness of this venture, and helping inspire people around the world to continue living the life they love.
Thank you everyone! See you on the open road!