Join the Grand Départy and help support people like Simon and his family

by Cheryl Barrett Project Manager, Tour de France Charity Partnership Simon cycling his bike with raised arms

When Sophie’s brother Simon was admitted to hospital on Christmas Day 2011 with unbearable stomach and back pain, the last thing the family expected to hear from the doctors was that Simon had cancer and would lose his battle just seven weeks later.
Simon was 29, had a zest for life and was a keen athlete. He took part in triathlons, triple Ironman competitions and had even represented Great Britain in the duathlon. In fact he was about as healthy and low risk for cancer as you can get. The Tour de France held a special place for Simon. You could even describe him as a Tour super fan. Every July he and his friends would pack up the car with camping gear and their bikes and set off to watch the alpine stages of the Tour. They would always arrive a few days before so they could test their mettle and cycle the Alps themselves, before cheering their cycling heroes on when the peloton arrived. They would always come back with cycling tales and photos with the cyclists. After spending six weeks in hospital, it became clear there was no treatment available for him other than making him comfortable as he approached the end of his life. Six days before passing away, Simon was discharged from hospital and was cared for Marie Curie Nurses. Because of this care, his family got the chance to spend precious time with Simon and he was able to marry Hayley, his girlfriend of five years.

Celebrate the Tour and help us help people

This year, the UK will once again play host to the Tour de France. The Grand Départ, the first three stages of the Tour will travel through the stunning scenery of Yorkshire, before travelling through the historic city of Cambridge then travelling on to London where it will finish on the Mall. Marie Curie is honoured to have been chosen as the official charity partner of the Grand Départ and today we’re launching our brand new fundraising campaign, the Grand Départy. By taking part in the Grand Départy you can help us to raise money to help more people like Simon to die in a place of their choice surrounded by their loved ones, supported by experts in care for terminally ill people. Register for your very own Grand Départy pack and let the race begin.