Two cousins are completing a 125-mile round trip from Aberdeen to Braemer in a day to raise funds for Maggie’s Aberdeen, a charity that has supported their ‘incredibly close’ family through years of heartache.
Gareth Johnston, a local butcher, and Michael Holley, a customer sales representative, will be carrying out the challenge on Saturday June 19.
Gareth says both charities have provided a lot of support for them.
“Michael and I are cousins that both grew up together in Braemar,” Gareth added. “We remain really close, so Michael was the first person that came to mind to rope into the challenge.
“I have been quite into my cycling the last few years, but I’ve never really done anything quite this far.
“Michael has done a couple of long sportives, but it’s been a while and he had to go out to buy a new bike for this one.
“The last year has been quite tough for our family in general. Our cousin’s in-laws are going through a tough time and are getting a lot of support from Maggie’s.
“But through our whole life, we have, like a lot of others, had family and friends affected by cancer.
“Last year my dad went through treatment for prostate cancer and thankfully he has come through it. But we lost our mum’s cousin Theresa to cancer in the run-up to Christmas. We are a big but incredibly close family, so it devastated us all.
“Our family is very proud of us for taking on the lengthy cycle. They were a bit surprised at us attempting the distance, but still proud of what we are doing it for and why.
“125 just happens to be a nice round number and be the distance from the Quioch, where our granddad grew up. He passed away from cancer when we were only around three.
“Michael and I will go all the way to the beach in Aberdeen and then back to Braemar to finish up at the Games Park.
“The Braemar Gathering is a weekend with lots of amazing memories for our family, so seemed an appropriate place for us to finish.
“Hopefully, we’ll have one or two of the family coming along with us as well.”
Gareth and Michael exceeded their original target of £500 so decided to double it.
They are less than £100 away from meeting this target as well and are urging people to donate to their cause or the two charities directly.
Gareth said: “Maggie’s does so much to help people cope with cancer.
“We have heard a lot about them from people who have had to use them. And with Covid-19, it’s made their job a lot harder. For both charities, it has been more difficult to have big fundraising activities.
“With one in two people likely to get cancer in their life, charities like these are needed to help us cope and find a cure for cancer.
“The groups need all the help they can get to keep going. So whether it’s donating to us or doing your own thing, I would love for people to give whatever they can.”
“For those looking to donate to Michael and I, they can pop into Braemar Butcher – where there are sponsor forms – or our fundraising page.”