Sun, Sep 03, 2006 - Page 7 News List

Cancer patient completes bike ride across the US

THE GUARDIAN , NEW YORK

Jane Tomlinson, center, and Ryan Bowd, left, both of Leeds, UK, ride on the Brooklyn Bridge on Friday in New York.

PHOTO: AFP

Cancer patient Jane Tomlinson pedaled her bicycle into Battery Park in lower Manhattan on Friday morning, completing an arduous 6,760km fund-raising ride across the US almost exactly six years after she was given six months to live.

"I thought it was going to be a bit of an adventure, but it turned out to be a bit of an ordeal," said Tomlinson, 42, at the end of a trip from San Francisco that included temperatures of 38?C, dog attacks and a run-in with the police.

"It was very difficult, but it's just good to be here." she said.

The 63-day ride, which began at the Golden Gate bridge, was almost abandoned two days ago when Tomlinson's condition worsened. Instead, she made it over the Brooklyn Bridge into New York, adding the transcontinental journey to a list of records that includes being the first cancer patient to complete a full official triathlon and the first person to run a marathon while on chemotherapy.

The US trip has been widely reported as the greatest feat of endurance undertaken by someone with terminal cancer. Tomlinson, a former hospital radiographer who has been diagnosed with advanced metastatic breast cancer, is attempting to raise US$2.4 million for British and American charities working with cancer patients and children.

Stopping at the White House earlier this week, she received a handwritten letter from British Prime Minister Tony Blair praising her fundraising efforts.

In his blog on the BBC Web site, Tomlinson's husband Mike described how his wife and her two fellow riders were repeatedly sprayed with road chippings as they rode through Colorado, followed for 90 minutes by a "belligerent" police officer and had a pickup truck driver throw Coca-Cola bottles at them.

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