A FATHER-of-two has celebrated being a blood cancer survivor for a decade by cycling more than 300 miles in aid of charity.

Laurence Harrison, from Flint, is an avid cyclist who was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) in June 2009 and thought his life was over.

Since then, Mr Harrison has fought the illness and helped to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

As previously reported in the Leader, he set up the Flint branch of the cancer research charity Bloodwise (formerly Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research) and has clocked up thousands of bike miles whilst fundraising.

To mark his 10-year anniversary of surviving cancer, the building inspector for Flintshire Council was joined by his wife and son to complete a massive cycling challenge for the local Bloodwise branch by cycling over 300 miles from London to Paris.

This was the fourth time Laurence has taken part in the cycle event between the two major cities, but it was the first time they had participated as a family.

He said: “Cycling into Paris with my wife and son alongside me was a very emotional moment for me, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be a ten-year cancer survivor who would still be here to participate in this amazing experience.”

Along with the Harrison’s, it is thought that 165 people participated in the cycle this year – each raising hundreds of thousands of pounds between them for the charity branch closest to them.

His wife, Tracy, said she had not ridden a bike since she was a child but took on the tough training in preparation to support her husband.

She said: “I would describe the ride as brutal – when you take on the hills and the heights combined with all weathers.

“The lead up to the cycle was tough, I thought I was fit just for going to the gym, but it was a lot tougher than I expected. Once you hear the people’s stories that are poorly, you realise why you are doing this and what cause you are supporting.

“Without the research that we, and many other people, are working for, I don’t think I would have my husband here with us today and for this life-saving medication I will be forever grateful.”

Their son Tom, 21, said: “We would like to thank the whole community really as without them we wouldn’t be able to raise money for this cause. The support has been incredible and means so much to our family.”

The charity run several fundraising events and challenges throughout the year to continue generating more funds for vital research.

The family has beaten their initial target of raising £3,000 and have set an extra target to get to £6,000.

The family’s fundraising page remains open for further online donations and can be found at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/laurence-harrison3