Disneyland Paris by exercise bike

Hospice supporter Michelle turns to pedal power to fundraise during the lockdown.

In May we launched our Emergency Appeal to help with the £250,000 shortfall in income as a result of cancelled fundraising events.

When a trip to Disneyland Paris was cancelled, Michelle Mcglasson decided she would cycle the distance instead.

Michelle, 35, works with children with special educational needs and disability (SEND) and lives in Stockport.

We caught up with her on day 15 of her 30-day virtual challenge.

What are you doing and why?

I was due to go to Disneyland Paris with my friend Clare. We met whilst studying at Stockport College and we had booked to go on the 1st May, the week after handing in our dissertations to celebrate finishing our BA (Honours) Childhood Studies Degree.

I have been supporting the College to raise money for Francis House Children’s Hospice and was planning on having a fundraiser, which unfortunately could not go ahead, so I set myself a challenge.

I worked out the distance to cycle from my parents’ house – where I have been staying during the current situation – to Disneyland Paris a total of 473.5 miles and to cover this distance in 30 days on an exercise bike to raise money instead.

Where are you cycling and how it that working out?

My dad set up their exercise bike in the conservatory, it had been stuck in the garage for I don’t know how long.

I ran the Manchester 10k before for Francis House, but the first few rides were like an uphill struggle, until dad took the bike apart and fixed the rusting wheels!

I started off my challenge by breaking up the distance over the day into 5 or 10km rides. Now halfway through my challenge I am able to do 20 to 30km in one go, although it is more difficult after a days’ work. So, I try to do more on my non-working days to help.

How do you feel about missing out on your trip?

Instead of a long weekend in Disneyland, I am now halfway through a 30-day bike ride covering the distance to get there, but I have had my music and Disney Plus to keep me going.

I count myself lucky I am safe and well, and when it is safe to do so we will rebook our trip. It’s given me something else to focus on during Covid-19 and the opportunity to improve my own fitness, whilst raising money for Francis House.

What kind of response have you got to your fundraising?

Family, friends, and colleagues have been really supportive. I know for many it is a difficult time, so any money raised is much appreciated. I have donated to a number of charities myself, as I am lucky enough to be working from home and to be in a position where I’m saving money on things like petrol and going out.

I wanted to do my bit to help and hoped others would feel the same if they are in a similar position.

What are you most looking forward to when you complete your challenge?  

I am due to finish my bike ride on the 30th May, maybe we will have a virtual Disney Party with the family to celebrate over a video call or watch the Disney fireworks online with a glass of fizz.

I haven’t really thought about it, but I will just be glad to have reached my goal and that I have had the determination to keep going.

Will you continue cycling?

I have found it has not only improved my fitness but has been good for my wellbeing, so I do plan to carry on, just not as much or every day.

It is definitely a one-way virtual trip; I’ll take a virtual flight home!

Thank you to Michelle for being a fantastic virtual #FrancisHouseFriend.

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