Michelle’s story: Taking on a family fundraising challenge


Michelle and her family, after taking on their family fundraisingchallenge

Michelle and her family took on an exciting family fundraising challenge to raise funds for our life changing services, joining riders all around the UK in our #NoLimits Ride for Danny – a socially distanced cycling challenge. They set out to ride 50km in one day as a family, to help us make sure we can be there for even more people affected by spinal cord injury in the future. Michelle says that cycling is a massive passion her family shares.

“Cycling is the food for my soul. I’ve always loved riding and being outdoors. The kids love it too, road and mountain biking. They each own two bikes! Riding is part of our lifestyle.”

As a Ride Captain with HotChillee, Michelle is no stranger to cycling challenges. HotChillee worked with us to organise our previous #NoLimits Ride for Danny challenges – including a ride from London to Paris in 2018 in memory of our former trustee Danny Turnbull. Michelle was amazed by the determination of the hand cyclists taking on this challenge.

“I have always felt strongly that disabled people can and should be included in mainstream activities. There is always a way.

“Seeing that in person through Back Up was absolutely amazing.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic we were unable to organise a group cycling event for Ride for Danny this year – instead we encouraged participants to take on the challenge wherever they were, and share their experiences virtually. Having been inspired by our previous challenges, Michelle was keen to get involved in this socially distanced event. This time, she was able to get her family involved too.

“Covid-19 was a real catalyst for getting us to do this challenge as a family. It hasn’t been an easy time for anyone, but the pandemic has meant we’ve been able to do a lot more together.

“We were in quarantine for two weeks before the challenge as we just returned from a holiday in France. We were stuck surrounded by four walls for so long, it was nice to look forward to Ride for Danny.”

when taking on this family fundraising challenge, the kids cycled their longest ever distance

On the day of the event, the family took to the road for a socially-distanced ride around Windsor Park. They set a target of riding 50km, and a goal of raising £100. For the kids aged 10 and 11 this would be the longest distance they had ever cycled in one go, but Michelle says they were fully engaged with the challenge.

“Having the whole family involved was amazing. Everyone was so determined to meet our goals.

“My highlight was when we had just cycled 49km. We had reached the car park where we started, and our kids encouraged us to take on a final push together – 500 meters uphill, then 500 downhill back to our car so we had the full 50km completed. Target met! The purpose of this ride was much bigger than ourselves.”

The family were pleased to beat their fundraising target, raising a total of £312 towards our life-changing services. Michelle understands how her family’s efforts will help Back Up be there for everyone affected by spinal cord injury.

“Taking on a challenge like this can give your family a great collective goal to work towards. There’s a real sense of teamwork, it feels brilliant.

“Organisations like Back Up help people with a spinal cord injury to live life to the full again.”

Would you like to take on a challenge to support Back Up? Get in touch with Reece