Family friends to cycle from Amsterdam to Wisbech to create more happy memories

PUBLISHED: 09:57 05 March 2020

Finley, Arthur and Harrison together. Picture: SARAH DODKIN

Finley, Arthur and Harrison together. Picture: SARAH DODKIN

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Nine family friends will set off from Amsterdam to Wisbech in a bid to create more happy memories for their children who have been diagnosed with a rare genetic disease.

Ben and Sarah Dodkin alongside sons Finley, Arthur and Harrison. Picture: SARAH DODKINBen and Sarah Dodkin alongside sons Finley, Arthur and Harrison. Picture: SARAH DODKIN

Ben and Sarah Dodkin are determined to make the most of life's opportunities with their three young sons Finley, Arthur and Harrison and not let Battens Disease take over their lives.

Finley and Harrison were diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease in 2017 aged six and one, which affects eyesight, memory and mobility.

The three-day cycle challenge will raise money to help make the boys' dreams come true, which include a trip to see George Ezra and a helicopter ride, with half of the funds going towards funding a family support worker at the Battens Disease Family Association (BDFA).

"We know how important family workers are to families like ours and as the charity is so tiny due to rareness of the disease," Sarah said.

Sarah and Ben's three sons Finley, Arthur and Harrison. Picture: SARAH DODKINSarah and Ben's three sons Finley, Arthur and Harrison. Picture: SARAH DODKIN

"We want to support them as much as we can because they are our only resource and support network that really understand and have experience of our children's condition.

"What better way to spread awareness than put nine novice cyclists in another country and get them to bike home spreading the word as they go."

Ben and Sarah, who have lived in Wisbech all their lives, have received a wealth of support from the local community for the boys, who attend the town's Peckover School, and have raised over £6,000 of their £10,000 target.

A homecoming party has also been organised for when the team of Ben alongside Phil Kowbas, Paul Bate, Jesse Bate, Owen Dobson, Nathan Peel, Toby Allen, Jack Griffin and Harry Griffin return from the ride.

"One summer's evening at a barbecue with friends, we discussed how we could move forward in a positive way after diagnosis and the lads all wanted to do something to raise awareness, support the charity and make memories for our boys," Sarah said.

"Our boys are unaware of the extent of their condition and as a family, we are dealing with one hurdle at a time as not to scare them or deny them of their childhood which should be fun, innocent and care-free.

"We hoped that from sponsorships from friends and family we might raise £2,000 to give half to the BDFA to support the family workers and half to give our boys a wish from their list.

"Who knew how it would snowball into the fundraising project it has become now and that we were able to raise our target to make more memories and to support the charity to do more of their amazing work."

The ride takes place between May 27-30. To donate, visit the family's JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/pedal4memories.

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