Tom’s mission for sick mum

Barnstaple lad Tom Phillips will be riding from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money for charity.

A BARNSTAPLE teenager is travelling the length of Britain in support of his mother as she awaits a lung transplant.

Debbie Phillips, 45, suffers from a genetic lung disease and has been told by doctors that she has only a few years left to live.

The mum-of-three’s only option is a lung transplant and while specialists race to register her on the official waiting list, son Tom, 19, will be embarking on a 2,000-mile road trip to say thank-you to the charity that is supporting his family.

The warehouse worker will be riding from Land’s End to John O’Groats on a 125cc motorbike to raise �1,000 for the British Lung Foundation (BLF).


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Tom, who will be joined on the ride by friend Sam Rosevear, said: “This is just my little way of saying thank-you to the BLF for all the support they have given my mum over the last couple of months. We are hoping to cover 210 miles a day on our trip, which should be about four to five hours riding not including traffic.”

As the two friends still have ‘L’ plates and are limited to 60 miles per hour, they will be taking the scenic route along the west coast to avoid motorways. Tom estimates that he and Sam will reach John O’Groats eight to 10 days after mum Debbie waves them off at Land’s End on April 8.

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Debbie, who suffers from alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, which has resulted in emphysema, said she was awaiting further doctor’s appointments before she could be officially added to the transplant list.

Professor Stephen Spiro, an expert on respiratory medicine, said: “Patients have to undergo a number of psychiatric and physical tests to ensure they are fit for transplant, as it is a huge ordeal to go through.

“Once a patient is on the list, they will receive a beeper. As soon as a compatible donor is found, the beeper will go off and they will have to go straight to the hospital.”

Louise Skinner, events manager at BLF, said: “We are so grateful that Tom and Sam are taking part in this incredible 2,000 mile motorbike ride for the BLF.

“We rely entirely upon voluntary donations and the money they raise will be invested in leading research, campaigns to bring about positive change, and care and support for anyone affected by lung diseases.”

Tom and his mum are also organising a bric-a-brac sale on Saturday, March 10, from 10am-2pm at St John’s Community Hall, Whiddon Valley, to raise funds for the trip. If you have any unwanted items you wish to donate or you would like to help out, please contact Tom on 07826 038236.

If you wish to support Tom and Sam by donating to the BLF, visit Tom’s fund-raising page at http://www.justgiving.com/Tom-Phillips4.

The boys will also be keeping a blog of their trip on Facebook page, “2000 Mile Motorbike Trip for British Lung Foundation”.

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