In 2001, Peter collapsed at work, he was 37 years old and was diagnosed with cancer. He had two children, Lauren who was eight and three year old Dylan. Peter was a young and active IT professional who had just started his own business.
All his life Peter had been a sports fanatic and had run several marathons and cycled professionally when he was much younger.
Cancer was the last thing we expected and with such a rare form we new it was going to be a long and hard battle. If it wasn't for the trial drugs and the funds of GCRF for research Peter would not have had an extra five years to spend with his family and friends. This was a gift and we made the most of it, visiting Lapland, South Africa, doing a 175ft free fall, visiting Disneyland and sharing many other memorable moments.
Peter inspired a group of family, friends and colleagues to embark on an adventure to raise awareness and funds to fight GIST. He was not able to join us on our ride, but enjoyed the camaraderie and fellowship from a distance. Peter was able to see us finish this, and sadly passed away a short while after.
It was part of Peter's Dream that we should not stop at a single event and that we should continue with fund raising and challenging ourselves. The Peter Thomas Cycling Challenge is an event open to anyone who wants to raise awareness of and money for GCRF (GIST Cancer Research Fund).
The GCRF website can by found at www.gistinfo.com. GCRF is a registered charity in the US (tax id # 13-4182988)
Our aim is to stop lighting candles for those friends of ours who have lost their battles against this disease. We have the skills, we have capabilities, we need the resources to find a long term cure.
In 2006, Peter had the vision to raise money for GCRF and a team of 10-15 cyclists gathered from various countries across the world. They cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats in the United Kingdom, a distance of about 1000 miles. On the 10 July 2006 Dylan and Lauren Thomas started the ride at Land's End while Peter was in the Woking hospice unable to ride. The riders finished the race in 10 days. This event says volumes about Peter, he motivated, inspired and persuaded a varied group of people and companies to participate and give support, time and money to the ride. He organised, planned and trained, while still undergoing treatment. His positive attitude, fighting spirit and courage inspired the team to complete the ride in his honour. Sadly Peter passed away on the 22 August.With this ride a huge amount of $85 000 was raised.
The vision was to organise a ride every three years and in September 2009, a group of riders completed the second ride from Montreal to New York (via Maine), a 1000 miles in 10 days!!!
We are now planning our third ride in South Africa where Peter was born and aim to start from Struisbaai in the Western Province in October 2012.
Your donation will help fund GIST Research.
The GIST Cancer Research Fund, has provided GIST cancer research grants to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (Harvard University) in Boston, MA, the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia , PA, the University of Pittsburgh, PA, The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City , NY and the Oregon Health Sciences University Cancer Institute in Portland, OR. One Hundred Percent (100%) of all the funds raised have and will continue to go directly for research on GIST cancer, under the advisement of Dr. Ephraim Caspar, GCRF's chief medical advisor.
On the 22nd of October we will set off from Struisbaai in South Africa -- near the Southern Most tip of Africa -- on a 1000 Mile cycle ride (details to be finalised). Please email us on – Enquiries@giste2e.net – to find out more about sponsoring or joining us on this journey.