Cycling nurses pit-stop in Brussels on charity ride across Europe
Yorkshire nurses Andy Dennis and Tracey Hill pedalled into Brussels on Friday during their mammoth bike ride across Europe to raise funds for Médecins sans Frontières (MSF).
Dennis, an intensive care nurse from Harrogate in England and his partner, Tracey, a dermatology nurse from York, are cycling a gruelling 3,200km from Amsterdam to Gibraltar via Brussels, Paris, Geneva, Monaco and Barcelona.
The pair dropped in at the European headquarters of Ansell Healthcare in Anderlecht, the medical safety equipment supplier sponsoring the intrepid duo along with Toyota car manufacturer. Ansell offered Andy and Tracey a comfy hotel bed for the night, a welcome respite from the wild camping the pair have endured since the start of their 3,200 km saddle adventure, christened ‘Ride to the Rock’.
Dennis and Hill aim to raise €36,000 for MSF. The humanitarian aid charity provides urgent healthcare in more than 70 countries, including Ukraine, for those caught up in conflicts, disasters and epidemics. Over the years, Dennis has intermittently given up the relative comfort of his life in Harrogate to work for MSF in South Sudan, Sierra Leone and Uganda.
He has witnessed first-hand the suffering when people are unable to access medical treatment in politically volatile nations. MSF volunteers save thousands of lives but more cash is needed to ensure its long-term work and to provide medical experts, sophisticated equipment, surgery and vaccines.
Dennis co-authored a book with Dr Anna Simon about his work in Africa, entitled ‘Ebola: Behind The Mask’. He said his time working in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis was the most extreme situation he had ever experienced. He helped care for over 150 patients. “In one month, we saw 47 people die, including young children.” The experience led to a lifelong commitment to the MSF cause.
The charity cycle in Europe presents a different kind of challenge, with Dennis admitting that he’s hardly done any training for the 70km-a-day ride on his mid-range road bike. “You can’t really train for the unknown,” he says. However, the couple are no cycling novices, having travelled 6,500 km across the US on two wheels in 2016.
The trip, together with a 2,400 km walk from Amsterdam to Barcelona by Dennis, racked up an impressive €143,000 Euros for MSF. For the new target of €36,000 Euros, the pair are hoping as many people as possible back their charity ride, contributing whatever they can afford.
Said Hill: “Right now I am shattered. We have just been through some woods and a mosquito war zone but at least I have a good pillow. I want to say thank you for the donations already pledged online.”
Read about the places they visit and the people they meet during their cycling adventure here on their Facebook page.
If you would like to sponsor Andy Dennis and Tracey Hill, go to email@example.com or thecyclingnurse.co.uk