Over 100 brave spinners took to the saddle in SouthGate Bath on Saturday 6th May, to raise funds for patients and their families at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. The event was organised by local businessman Rob Walsh in memory of his brother Neil Walsh, and fitness instructor Tash Hillier in memory of her father Ken Hillier. Sadly, both men passed away suddenly after suffering heart attacks in 2015.
The 10 hour Spinathon, which is the second of its kind, has raised over an incredible £11,000 for The Forever Friends Appeal (the primary charity for the Royal United Hospital), which is to be split between the Cardiology Unit and the RUH Cancer Care Campaign. With the first event in 2016 raising just over this for the RUH, a massive £23,000 in total has been donated to help transform care and support patients and their families when they need it most.
The spinathons have been important and emotional projects for Rob and Tash and the spinathon’s success has completely blown them away. Rob Walsh explains:
“In June 2015 I lost my brother, Neil, unexpectedly through a heart attack. As you can imagine this was a devastating loss for me and my family. But what is very important to me is to turn this tragedy into something positive.
Having found out that my Spin Class Instructor Tash Hillier experienced the loss of her father recently as well, also through a heart attack, we hatched the idea for our first 10 hour ‘Spinathon’ in 2016, which raised money for the Cardiac Unit at Bath’s Royal United Hospital, where our loved ones were treated and the British Heart Foundation.
All of our amazing cyclists, spin instructors, bucket shakers and bike sponsors helped us raise an amazing amount for both charities, so we decided to give it another go this year!
For our second event we decided to raise all funds for the Royal United Hospital, for the Cardiology Unit and the new Cancer Centre – our families, as well as those of many of our spinners, have been touched by both areas.
We have been blown away by all the support once again and are delighted that the events have now raised over £23,000!”
Donations from the Spinathon’s will be put towards the purchase of a Balloon Pump on the Cardiology Unit, a lifesaving piece of equipment that is used when patients need to be resuscitated by manipulating the heart to beat using a state of the art computer system. Some of the donations from the 2017 event will also be put towards the RUH Cancer Care Campaign, which is helping to build a state of the art new Cancer Centre that will dramatically transform cancer care for thousands of people in the South West.
Laura Pearce, Senior Events Fundraiser for The Forever Friends Appeal, comments: “We are so grateful to Rob, Tash and everyone else who pedaled their way to this incredible fundraising total! The Spinathons are so much fun and bring a real buzz to the city centre on the day, all whilst being a really important way of honoring the lives of loved ones lost and showing support for those currently being treated. Rob and Tash are truly amazing, selfless people and we can’t thank them enough for all their hard work the past two years… organizing 50+ spin bikes and 100+ spinners and then spinning (and instructing!) for 10 hours straight is no easy feat! The money raised will touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients cared for by the RUH every year, and ensure that they receive the very best care, when they need it most.”