FRIENDS who met at a local football club are cycling 400 miles across four countries for an ex-teammate who has cancer.
Sam Canty, Joe Weston and Matt Wells — three of Matt Bates’ close mates — are riding from Central Ajax Football Club, in Warwick, to Ajax Amsterdam Football Club, in the Netherlands, after the 26-year-old was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of kidney cancer.
The ride — dubbed Ajax To Ajax — will begin on Easter Monday, 28th March, after a football match at the Hampton Road club and ends six days later at Ajax’s Dutch League game with Zwolle.
Along the way, the trio will also stop off at Wembley to watch England take on the Netherlands in a Euro 2016 warm-up match.
So far their fundraising total stands at £6,500.
Matt, from Whitnash in Leamington Spa, had successful surgery in October 2014 to remove an 11cm tumour from his right kidney as well as 11 lymph nodes.
However, six months later the cancer returned and has since spread to his lung, spine and adrenal gland. He is currently undergoing immunotherapy treatment called IL-2 in Manchester.
The football match will kick off at 11am and be open to the public with food and refreshments available, before the trio will set off on the ride with the help of three other friends in a support vehicle.
They are aiming to keep people up to date on their travels via their Twitter account — @AjaxtoAjaxCycle — and Facebook page — Ajax to Ajax Cycle.
Sam, 27, said: “We wanted to fundraise in a way that was memorable and special to everyone involved. It was the club that brought us all together again when we started coaching, so revolving the ride around Ajax seemed like an obvious decision.”
Matt, a former journalist, who spent a short time working at the Stratford Midweek and Herald, added: “We will never stop looking for ways to beat my cancer — whether that be in the UK or abroad — and will try anything that can give me a half a chance.
“To have the financial support to make that possible means a lot to both me and my family. Any money left over at the end of my treatment will be given to charity.”
To donate towards Ajax to Ajax, visit https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/316RSf/ab/b5Vao9#_=_