Ride for Their Lives: Biking to Fight Against Climate Change

Climate change is an issue that has seen a lot of activism from the younger generations, as they will have to grow up and handle more of the burdens it presents. Even more youth activists are joining this fight in an initiative titled Ride for Their Lives. Patients and staff from six children’s hospitals in London will bike from their city to Glasgow, where the COP26 climate change conference is being held.

Ride for Their Lives

The six hospitals taking part in this initiative are the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), the Royal Hospital for Children, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, and Evelina London Children’s Hospital. Both patients and staff will take to bikes to fight against climate change, with the goal of making air pollution a priority in public policy.

Totaling almost 500 miles, the ride will be taken by 70 bikers. 26 plan to bike the entire way, while others are unable to for various reasons. For many of the patients, health concerns stop them from biking the entire distance.

One of these patients is 18-year-old Toby Hancock, who lives with Marfan syndrome. Even though he will not ride for the entire 500 miles, he will be biking every single day. He joined the initiative for two reasons: his gratitude to GOSH for his care and to fight against air pollution. While he does not feel the negative effects of London’s air pollution, he knows many other patients with respiratory syndromes who “are seriously affected by it.”

Toby and the other bikers set off from Granary Square, cheered on by family, friends, and other supporters. Once they finish the ride, they’ll hand their letters to politicians at the conference.

About Marfan Syndrome

Marfan syndrome is a disorder of the connective tissue caused by a mutation of the FBN1 gene. This mutated gene is typically inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, but a number of cases are the result of sporadic mutations. Regardless of how it is inherited, the mutation impacts a protein that is necessary for the connective tissue’s elasticity and strength.

It causes symptoms such as flat feet, tall and slender build, heart murmurs, vision issues, disproportionately long appendages, a protruding/dipping breastbone, a high palate, crowded teeth, an abnormally curved spine, and damage to the aorta. The final symptom is often the most concerning. There is no cure for this condition, and treatment aims to address these specific symptoms.

You can find out more about Ride for Their Lives here.

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