Reaching Out: Paul Seshold’s Life Cycling Challenge

In January I dedicated my first win of the 2014 season to my late brother in law, Lachie. Crossing the finish line ahead of Giorgia Bronzini at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic I held my right hand to my heart and pointed to the sky with the other. This one’s for you Lachie.

My sister’s much loved husband passed away in October – just two weeks before his twenty-sixth birthday – from a rare form of cancer, a one in a million sarcoma that targets young people. He had been fighting the cancer on and off since he was 19.

Now I have a sticker plastered on all five of my bikes that reminds me to make the most of life and to never give up; two sentiments Lachie lived by.

A few weeks after I won in Geelong I received an email from someone who had heard about my dedication and who understood – better than most – what my #irideforLACHIE stickers symbolise.

Paul Seshold loves cycling. Although, he told me, he isn’t the same sort of cyclist that I am.

I reassured him that was fine, because at the end of the day we are all the same sort of cyclist. We all get the same enjoyment from throwing our legs over the bike, riding down the road fast and feeling the adrenaline rush that riding our bike provides.

If there was one thing that differentiated Paul and I it was this; he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2012.

Paul survived the leukaemia and couldn’t get back on his bike fast enough; in fact when he first got sick he was told that his fitness was the main factor working in his favour and “nearly everything else was against” him.

However, 2013 brought him more challenges. He contracted lymphoma, another type of blood cancer. Fortunately the treatment succeeded and once again he threw on his lycra and got back on his bike.

While the cancer was gone Paul’s passion for cycling was still in his blood and he promptly set his target of riding up the Col Du Tourmalet; a tall, horribly steep, famous mountain in the Pyrenees which we often see the heroes of the Tour de France go to battle on.

He told me he wanted to ride up this mountain, which I would never willingly do myself (especially if I just recently beat two life threatening cancers), for a number of reasons.

Firstly, to raise awareness of Leukaemia and its treatments.

Secondly to financially support the needs of other sufferers and help improve their prospects.

And most importantly to give hope to other sufferers that their futures can allow them to return to normal life.

When we spoke on the phone about Paul’s fund raising mission this was what stood out to me.

While I want to raise awareness for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne and funds specifically for rare sarcoma research affecting young people, Paul’s mission to give ‘hope’ to people struggling with life threatening illnesses touched me because in the end, when you’re struggling with these illnesses like both Lachie and Paul, ‘hope’ is one of the most important things.

I asked Paul what I could do to help and he simply asked for me to share his story. So here I am sharing it.

Paul has set his sights high, much like the mountain he will climb in June. He wants to raise $300,000 for two charities who were part of his blood cancer journey, the Leukaemia Foundation and the Arrow Bone Marrow Transplant Foundation.

He is already more than half way there but you can still help him. Read more about his journey and fund raising here and help give hope to people struggling with these diseases that don’t discriminate.

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