Ride across Africa for breast can­cer

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Plim­mer­ton cy­cle fa­natic Vince Lang­ford is plan­ning a 12,000 kilome­tre ride of a life­time in Africa, in mem­ory of his wife and big­gest cheer­leader Fran, who died of breast can­cer last Au­gust.

Vince, 57, an en­gi­neer on the Aratere Cook Strait ferry, had planned to ride the Tour d’afrique, a mam­moth four-month cy­cle from Cairo to Cape Town, in 2011 with his mate Lind­say Goult.

Fran had in­tended to drive the route to sup­port him. How­ever, just days af­ter the men floated their African odyssey, she de­vel­oped back pain, which was di­ag­nosed as breast can­cer. She died 14 months later, aged 55.

Now the worst of his griev­ing is over, Vince has de­cided to do the ride in 2013, to raise funds for the Can­cer So­ci­ety, who helped him through the tough times dur­ing Fran’s chemo­ther­apy.

‘‘Those guys are amaz­ing. It’s such a good cause,’’ he says.

Vince and Fran met at a disco in their na­tive Eng­land when they were just 15 years old. Four years later they were mar­ried, and em­i­grated to New Zealand in 1987.

Fran was well- known in Plim­mer­ton as the long- time of­fice ad­min­is­tra­tor for Plim­mer­ton School.

The cou­ple led an ad­ven­ture­filled life with chil­dren Re­becca, 24, and Michael, 22 – fish­ing, cy­cling, sail­ing, even paraglid­ing.

‘‘We had a great life to­gether. Some peo­ple never get that,’’ Vince says.

Fran’s di­ag­no­sis was a great shock as she had reg­u­lar can­cer checks af­ter hav­ing sev­eral fam­ily mem­bers die of the dis­ease. ‘‘It just goes to show how can­cer can ar­rive, and bang,’’ Vince says.

At 11,718 km, the Tour d’afrique is the world’s long­est en­durance cy­cle event. Vince will join about 50 other riders for the gru­elling ride, sleep­ing in tents by night and hav­ing to carry most of his gear, in­clud­ing re­pair kit, on his bike. The ride will cost him US$14,000, plus flights.

Vince is su­per fit – he rides hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres ev­ery week, is a keen marathon run­ner and once did the Coast to Coast race in just one day. He’s not sure what to ex­pect in Africa next year, how­ever.

‘‘I’m just go­ing to fumble my way through,’’ he says.

‘‘I’d pre­fer to have it all as one big sur­prise.’’

Vince’s friend Lind­say Goult, who did ride the Tour d’afrique in 2011, has set up a web­site which will track Mr Lang­ford’s odyssey and col­lect do­na­tions for the Can­cer So­ci­ety.

To do­nate to Vince Lang­ford’s Can­cer So­ci­ety fund, visit vin­cerides­for­cancer.com

Rough ride: Plim­mer­ton man Vince Lang­ford will ride 12,000 kilo­me­tres across Africa next year in mem­ory of wife Fran, who died of breast can­cer last Au­gust, and to raise money for the Can­cer So­ci­ety.

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