A year on from beating drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), Simon Richardson has completed training as a soldier, and is now cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End to raise money for the charity TB Alert.
After just six weeks training, Simon started the ride on 15 July, and hopes to complete it in just nine days, shaving three days off the average.
“I wanted to mark a year free of TB by setting myself a real physical challenge,” says Simon. “By doing the legendary John O’Groats to Land’s End cycle ride, I can prove to myself and the world that I’ve really got TB beat. It’s also the perfect opportunity to raise money for TB Alert, which does crucial work helping people get into treatment for TB as early as possible, and supporting them through such a difficult time.”
Simon was diagnosed with TB back in 2012 just after being selected for the army, so he had to put that dream on hold. Then three months into treatment doctors told him that the drugs weren’t working, and in fact he had multi-drug resistant TB. This meant gruelling treatment with a cocktail of drugs over the coming months. He suffered terrible side effects and even had to be readmitted to hospital.
But he hasn’t let TB hold him back. While still in treatment, Simon did his first challenge for TB Alert, rowing the equivalent of the English Channel to raise more than £4,000.
Then just three months after finishing treatment, he was reselected for the army. He finally fulfilled a lifelong ambition, completing the challenging six-month Combat Infantryman’s Course at Catterick, North Yorkshire. One of only 15 to finish the training out of 63 of who started , Simon also come out with the highest award for the fittest recruit.
He’s now based in Woolwich in London, serving in the Second Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, which will be posted to Cyprus for three years in August.
TB Alert Chief Executive Mike Mandelbaum says: “We are constantly impressed by Simon’s get-up-and-go, which even drug-resistant TB couldn’t dampen. It’s fantastic to see him once again setting himself a sporting challenge to raise funds for TB Alert.”
To sponsor Simon go to: www.justgiving.com/Simon-Richardson7