On your bike
Jonjo Rooney most definitely will be. Today, he will begin cycling 500 miles from Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital to Hamelin in north Germany. Rooney and five others cyclists are expected to arrive in a week’s time.
That’s quite some distance – a blind date?
Not quite. Rooney, 30, is cycling to meet his German donor, Andreas Geppert, who helped him survive cancer. “This idea has been in my mind for a few years now, so to see it turned into a reality is both nerve-racking and exciting,” said Rooney, who was 23 when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2006. After chemotherapy and radiotherapy failed, the bone marrow transplant saved his life.
A big thank you then?
Not according to Rooney, from Bromsgrove, in Worcestershire, who said: “No amount of miles cycled could ever match what he has done for me but I know I had to do something.” Geppert was just 18 when he donated his stem cells to Rooney in 2007. Since then, Rooney has made a full recovery and is now in remission. “This ride represents my small way of saying thank you.”
Will the ride raise money?
Rooney hopes to raise money for three blood cancer charities including the Anthony Nolan charity which found the suitable donor for Rooney.
Since going into remission, Rooney has been dedicated to offering support and advice to other patients diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, by setting up his own charity Bpositive. Rooney is also one of 28 finalists shortlisted for TalkTalk’s Digital Heroes Award.