This week, six friends from Warminster will swap their hockey sticks for bikes and set off on a 420 mile cycling adventure to raise money for the Dyson Cancer Centre, planned to be built at the Royal United Hospitals Bath.

The group, who’ve called themselves ‘6 Chicks with Sticks’ normally play hockey together but this year, they decided to take up a challenge to show support for their friend Sally Douthwaite who is being treated for ovarian cancer at the hospital.

In eight days, Sally Douthwaite, Sarah Shanks, Nic Ilic, Ali Brown, Kirsty Stewart and Gussie Kerr-Bonner will cycle from St David’s in Pembrokeshire to Lowestoft in East Anglia. Their aim was to raise £6,000 but having already smashed their target, they are hoping to raise more.

Sally Douthwaite, aged 52, said:

“Having received my shocking diagnosis of ovarian cancer back in November 2016, I have received nothing but the utmost care and reassurance from all of the clinical teams within the oncology department at the RUH.

“They’ve given me their time, including a friendly voice at the end of the phone whenever I’ve needed it. I feel empowered to manage my illness and treatment in a way that gives me some control. Having been closely monitored by my consultant, it meant that my cancer relapse was picked up early and although I’m now undergoing further treatment I know I’m in safe hands.

“Our challenge is an opportunity to give something back to this wonderful team by supporting the RUH’s charity, The Forever Friends Appeal. We want to contribute towards making further improvements to the hospital’s cancer service for future patients. I’d like to say thank our local schools and everyone who has supported us at our cake sales, quiz and curry nights.”

Ali Brown, a member of 6 Chicks with Sticks said:

“As a group of working mothers on the other side of 40, we all have our fair share of day-to-day challenges, however, none are as big as the cancer battle that Sally is facing. She successfully fought this disease with the most amazing courage and a great sense of humour. Despite this, it has returned and she once again she turns to the RUH for help with a tough road ahead.

“None of us are cyclists, with one of us having barely ridden a bike for 25 years. But, we wanted a challenge, something that we would have to work really hard at, and so this west to east cycle challenge is something we felt would be tough but one that we can achieve. We were inspired by the ‘Four Mums in a Boat’, they are amazing women who showed that with determination, planning and team work, you really can achieve anything you want.”

The Chicks will set off from St David’s on the 4 April. Anyone wishing to show their support can visit their JustGiving.com page.

Maddy Jones, Senior Events Fundraiser said:

“On behalf of the charity, I’d like to say a huge thank you to the 6 Chicks with Sticks for all that they have achieved so far. By running their own fundraising events and with the support of their loved ones, they have raised an incredible sum to support the RUH Cancer Care Campaign – and we have been so touched by their determination and support of Sally. Good luck to the whole team, we’ll be thinking of you and can’t wait to hear about your adventure.”

As we head towards our 20th anniversary on 29 June 2019, the RUH Cancer Care campaign continues to achieve the very best care, treatment and quality of environment for patients who are living with and beyond cancer, and their families.

Once the new RNHRD and Therapies Centre opens in the autumn, the old therapies buildings at the RUH Combe Park site will be cleared to make way for the construction of the new Dyson Cancer Centre.

For more information about Dyson Cancer Centre and to make a donation, click here