Paediatric nurse stops off at Luton's Keech Hospice as part of cycle challenge

A paediatric nurse will be stopping at Keech Hospice as part of her cycle challenge as part of Children’s Hospice Week.

By Lynn Hughes
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 4:43 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 4:43 pm

READ Francesca Lennon will be cycling 3,200 miles over 70 days to complete the marathon challenge by August 28, an average of 46 miles per day. She will be in Luton on August 1.

Every children’s hospice in the UK will be uniting to support her on the first day of Children’s Hospice Week, each completing 54 minutes of cycling or putting their best wheels forward, like wheelchair racing or trolley dashes – a minute to represent every UK hospice.

Inspired by her work with seriously ill children for over 10 years, Francesca has recently founded ChatUK (Children’s Hospices Across The UK), a project aimed at creating a network between the independent UK children’s hospices and educating the nation about the importance of the essential service they provide. Vitally, she’ll be raising funds for children’s palliative care charity, Together for Short Lives, to support children’s hospices.

Francesca with Henry

The theme of this year’s Children’s Hospice Week is #ForTheChildren. Children’s hospices provide vital support for children and young people with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition.

Everything they do is ‘For The Children’ – helping families make the most of their lives together, no matter how short. No one knows this better than Francesca.

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Just four months before the start of the challenge, Francesca experienced her own personal loss, when her close friend’s son Henry died from Acute Myeloid Leukaemia at 9 years old. It is with a huge amount of love that she is dedicating ChatUK to Henry and has named her bike after him too. Henry always wanted to help others and Francesca hopes that through their story she will have an even more powerful message to spread with ChatUK.

The hospices across the UK support seriously ill children and their families during their most difficult times, but with over 99,000 seriously ill children, and they are struggling to raise the funds that they need to continue their vital work.

The epic bike ride is part of the project’s launch, with a mission to raise £500,000 for children’s hospices and the families they support. Children’s hospices are made up of many different individual charities and an important part of ChatUK to raise money for them all. The money raised will go to the Together for Short Lives National Fundraising Scheme, which will split the money raised between all 54 children’s hospices

Francesca said: “ChatUK is inspired by the children and families I have cared for as a nurse, seeing first-hand what they face every day and the difference the support of a children’s hospice makes. I wanted to bring people together to raise awareness and funds for children’s hospices and to show families of seriously ill children how much we care.”

ChatUK is encouraging children to ‘race Francesca’ by working together to travel the same distance on their own wheels - be it by bike, scooter, wheelchair or any wheels possible! Starting with just one mile, children across the UK are being encouraged to take on their own personal challenge to join the team and add their own miles to ‘Race Francesca’. A fundraising pack is available on the ChatUK website for more information on how to get involved: www.chatukproject.com/race-francesca-challenge