June 20, 2023 2.00 pm This story is over 9 months old

Lincolnshire biker battling cancer joins epic fundraiser for Macmillan

Over 100 bikers will ride through the night

A Lincolnshire motorcyclist is defying the odds as she battles breast cancer and gears up for an extraordinary cross-country tour in support of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Helen Farrant will join 120 other bikers for the renowned Sunset to Sunrise bike tour, aiming to raise funds for the charitable cause on June 21.

Helen and her friend Steve Freemantle played an integral role in organising the annual Bikers4Macmillan fundraiser since 2008, raising a staggering £120,000.

However, Helen’s own Stage 2 breast cancer diagnosis in March of last year paused her fundraising activities.

She faced a gruelling treatment regimen comprising chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery.

“It sounds strange, but I had a premonition that I’d get cancer. My dad had cancer and another family member had Hodgkin Lymphoma. So I expected it,” she said.

“I found the lump on my birthday and I just thought ‘here we go again’. I tried to stay positive and haven’t cried once. My family really struggled with the diagnosis, so I had to be strong for the four of us. I had to help them through.”

Helen was supported by the Macmillan nurses whom she has been helping to fund for over five years. Lisa and Carolyn at King’s Mill Hospital were amongst those helping Helen through her cancer journey.

“The Macmillan breast care nurse was amazing. Anytime I had a problem, she was there on the end of the phone. I had to cancel some holidays after my diagnosis and she helped me with the letter for that,” she said.

“Any issues or questions I had, I’d phone her and she’d always call me back straight away. She was just there the whole time.”

Group founder Steve Freemantle, 68, from Sleaford, has also had relatives supported by Macmillan.

His mother in law passed away from bone cancer 14 years ago and shortly after his wife was diagnosed with throat cancer.

“Our flagship event is the Sunset to Sunrise bike tour but we also do street collections and have an annual teddy bear’s picnic where we take our picnic blankets and our teddy bears. Not something you’d expect from a bunch of burly bikers, but we love it!” He said.

The ride has grown from eight to 120 riders, with them leaving Holyhead at sunset and arriving at Skegness in time for sunrise.

Jamie Davenport, Macmillan Fundraising Manager for Lincolnshire, said: “There are no words to describe what Steve, Helen and the group have done for Macmillan. Their commitment to fundraising year after year has been unwavering and as a result the event has gained an incredible reputation, with people lining motorway bridges to see the group pass by.

“It’s an incredible sight! Their commitment has helped to fund so many vital cancer support services, so we can do whatever it takes for people living with cancer in Lincolnshire.”