Kirsten, scientist and cyclist

17 June 2019

Spire Gatwick Park Hospital is proud to be taking part in a company-wide fundraising challenge from Sunday 23 - Sunday 30 June 2019 to raise money for THET and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity for their support of the George and the Giant Pledge campaign and the Harry's Giant Pledge campaign (both local children). 

Throughout the week our colleagues across our 39 hospitals and each of our support sites will be taking part in our charity challenge as we aim to cover 40,000km between us. As part of this, a team of colleagues including our CEO Justin Ash, CFO Jitesh Sodha, and Mark Beaumont - world-renowned athlete, broadcaster and ambassador - will be riding a grueling 333km from our office in central London to our hospital in Bristol all in one day. On their way, they will stop at our St Anthony's, Gatwick Park, Portsmouth and Southampton hospitals.

Kirsten King, from our Pathology Department, is also part of the team. Here is her very inspiring story:

'I think cycling is in my genes; my dad rode around the coast of GB when he was about 70, so I’m thinking perhaps that challenge needs to be on my bucket list!  As a child, I cycled to school and to see friends, so it gave me independence long before I passed my driving test. 

I took up triathlon when my second son was born, and this has always been a good way to keep fit whilst fitting around the needs of young children – his gymnastics club was my gym session, his climbing club was my run. Cycling was harder to fit in until my children were older, and I did my first long-distance ride, from St David’s in Wales to Lowestoft over a week in 2012, London Olympics year. The Olympics really kick-started my involvement – I was a Games Maker and worked as a marshal for the road cycling and triathlon events, as well as driving and working in the laboratory in the Athletes Village. That year Cranleigh Cycle Club was formed and I started riding regularly with others; this really brought on my riding skills and I well and truly got the cycling bug.

I have completed the Prudential Ride London 100 mile event twice and helped on the Mechanics Station fixing dozens of punctures; raced at Half Ironman distance abroad and at home; taken part in an on and off-road cycling, trail-running and kayaking challenge across Scotland; and more recently taken up adventure racing, typically 6-hour events including navigation around a course without sat nav.

I am currently going through a very difficult period in my personal life, and cycling gives me a focus. This Spire ride is an enormous challenge, and is making me get out and push myself to get the miles in even if my legs are feeling tired – I know I’ll feel better for it afterwards (plenty of Type 2 fun in my life) – or at least will not suffer quite as much as if I don’t! Riding a bike takes me away from my other stresses, both physically and mentally, as I can only really concentrate on being in the right gear for the coming terrain, appreciating the beautiful countryside around where I’m lucky to live, or holding the wheel in front of me.

I’m very excited to have the privilege of riding with a world record-holder, and I’m sure he will inspire me to take on further challenges that will enrich my life.'

To help us reach our goal you can donate by visiting our JustGiving page.

Thank you very much for your support.

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