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Jason is 51 years old and lives in Aylesbury with his family. Over the past 9 years, Jason has supported WheelPower in many ways. He has ridden the Tour de Vale multiple times, taken part in a Santa Dash, organised a 2.6 Challenge with his local football club, volunteered at the Junior Games, and even hosted the Virtual Bingo evening.
We are extremely grateful to Jason and his family for the ongoing support they have given to the charity and hope that his story inspires others to take part in fundraising events for WheelPower …
“I’ve been supporting WheelPower since 2013 when I took part in my first Tour de Vale as a warm up to the London to Brighton cycle ride. I hadn’t cycled for over 25 years but I was cajoled by my colleagues to join the company team to sign up. I was aware of the Tour de Vale having lived in Aylesbury since 2004 but had never thought to enter before. I was so impressed by the organisation, the atmosphere and the cause that I persuaded my employer Epson to switch the company bike ride to the Tour de Vale the following year.”
The Tour de Vale is the charity’s biggest fundraiser of the year and since 2003 it has raised over £800,000. WheelPower relies on the tremendous support of fundraisers just like Jason and every penny that they raise along the way makes a real difference to the lives of disabled people across the UK. Jason has supported this event both as a participant, but also as an organiser, bringing together teams of colleagues and club members to take on the challenge collectively.
“I have organised Tour de Vale teams for my employer, Epson, and my daughters’ football club, Aylesbury United Ladies & Girls. I even dressed as the Aylesbury Duck when riding with the football club! My proudest achievement though is to have won the team fundraising award for three years running, in 2016, 2017 and 2018, raising £4,445 in total.”
"I’ve really enjoyed all my Tour de Vales, but I remember one year being persuaded to sign up to the challenge route, which was 60km at the time! I’m not a keen cyclist and I spent more time organising the team than I did practising. It was hard work and I learnt the hard way to know your limits, so I’ve stuck with the 25k ever since!"
Unfortunately, the 2020 event was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic but that wasn’t going to stop Jason who was looking for new ways to support the charity. "After missing 2019 I remember the emptiness I felt on the day of the Tour de Vale as I promised that the Ducks would ride again in 2020. It was disappointing when the event was cancelled but the Aylesbury United Ladies & Girls FC showed their support for WheelPower by organising a 2.6 Challenge. We invited players, coaches and their families to take part in a ‘26 Points Skills Challenge’ and together we raised £819 for WheelPower."
With the 2021 event now scheduled for Sunday September 19th we look forward to welcoming Jason and his family back to the start line at Stoke Mandeville Stadium later this year. "This year I’m going to be cycling with my two daughters and I’m hoping to recruit some of my Epson colleagues to ride as well. I’m looking forward to a well-earned burger and ice cream at the end."
The WheelPower Winter Walk & Push (January 2021)
With the new year approaching and Jason due to celebrate a big birthday in January he once again decided to set himself another challenge to support WheelPower. The Winter Walk and Push was WheelPower’s newest event and in 2021 the charity was encouraging people to reach a target by walking or pushing, to help them to get through the cold months and start the new year by getting active. Once again Jason stepped up to help WheelPower and put in place plans to walk 100 miles.
“To celebrate my 50th birthday in January, I decided to take part in the WheelPower Winter Walk & Push. I set myself a target of 100 miles, which is one mile for every year and another 50 miles on top for good measure! Rather than ask for birthday presents I asked my family and friends to sponsor me. To reach my goal I needed to walk just over three miles every day and was joined by my wife on most of the walks.”
Jason began the challenge straight away and had been racking up the miles walking around his local neighbourhood in the first weeks. No matter what the weather threw at him he continued to walk despite the frequent rain fall and, on some days, he even encountered snow on the ground! Unfortunately, as he approached the half way point of his challenge he had a bit of an accident which needed hospital treatment.
As he explains, “Day 13 didn't quite go to plan: I took a tumble in the dark and landed face first. My glasses took the impact and dug a nasty gash in my face. I managed to walk home and my wife took me to Stoke Mandeville Hospital where the amazing staff stitched up my wound. I wouldn’t recommend it as fundraising tactic but I received lots of kind words and donations in the days after!”
Despite the fall Jason continued to walk in the days that followed, albeit looking a bit battered and bruised. He passed the half way mark in good time and finished the month walking strongly, smile intact, as he passed the finish line. Over the course of the month Jason walked a total of 111 miles and raised £850 for WheelPower, smashing his target 3 times over.
"WheelPower is a very worthy cause with a great heritage but struggles to get the recognition and funding the bigger national charities receive. I personally think it’s important to give back to the local community and I feel very humbled when I see the great work the charity does. When supporting this event remember that every contribution, however large or small, goes to a worthy cause. It’s not about winning a fundraising award – that’s a bonus - the real winner is WheelPower.”
On behalf of WheelPower we would like to thank Jason for all the amazing support he has provided to the charity over nearly 10 years of association with us. He has gone above and beyond, and continues to strive for new challenges year after year.
With the support of fundraisers like Jason WheelPower is able to reach more disabled people across the UK and provide new opportunities for them to maintain a healthier and more active lifestyle. Thank you Jason and we look forward to hearing what you have planned next!
Visit www.tourdevale.com to find out how to sign up for this year's event on Sunday 12 June 2022