Milton Keynes resident Sally Waller has been selected to play a starring role when the elite Friends Life Women’s Tour cycle race comes to town next week.
Sally, 67, has been asked to go on to the podium at the end of Stage 2 (from Hinckley to Bedford) on Thursday, May 8, and present a prize jersey to the fastest British rider. She will be awarding the Best of British jersey on behalf of blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, the race’s official charity partner.
Sally became a supporter of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research following her diagnosis of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in December 2009, aged 62. She underwent two courses of chemotherapy at Milton Keynes Hospital but unfortunately both were unsuccessful, and she required a stem cell transplant to save her life.
Fortunately a match was found and she received the transplant on April 8, 2010. Sally has since met her donor and they have remained great friends.
She said: “My donor, Darryl White had only joined the register in December 2009 - the month I was diagnosed - but I will be forever thankful that he did. It is because of donors like him, as well as the fantastic research into blood cancer led by charities such as Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, that many people are beating the disease. I feel honoured to be able to represent this charity and blood cancer patients at such a special event.”
The Women’s Tour will feature a wealth of British cycling talent, including Olympic champions Laura Trott, Dani King, and Lizzie Armitstead.
Dani King, who has become an ambassador for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research since winning her London 2012 gold medal, said: “I’m really excited to be competing in The Women’s Tour. British fans have totally embraced women’s cycling, so the local crowd reaction should be fantastic. I will be striving to wear the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research jersey to show my support and raise awareness of the fantastic work the charity does to beat blood cancer.”
Paul Morton, sports events manager at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, added: “We are delighted that Sally has agreed to go on the podium and present our race jersey to the fastest British rider. We understand the challenges faced by people affected by blood cancer, and that is why we won’t stop until we have beaten the disease.”