A kind-hearted businesswoman from Deganwy has raised £15,000 for a hospice for babies with a gruelling charity bike ride in Asia.
Ruth Macbryde, a director of Macbryde Homes in St Asaph, cycled the 272 miles from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, often in searing heat and along deeply rutted roads.
Ruth was challenged to do the cycle marathon in aid of the Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice in Liverpool by her good friend, the TV comedian and radio presenter Willie Miller who champions Zoe’s Place.
The specialist hospice provides palliative, respite and end of life care to babies and infants aged from birth to five years suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.
Ruth was joined on the ride by her friend Christine Howatson, from Ruthin, and her daughter, Ffion.
They were accompanied by 38 other Zoe’s Place supporters and it’s expected the final total raised by all the riders will exceed £180,000.
Ruth said: “The last 35 miles of the first 70 mile day we did on our third day was essentially just a dirt track, dust track, with lots of heavy construction vehicles so we were covered in orange dust.
“I could write my name on my legs and on my face because the dust was so thick. Too Christine’s delight when I took my helmet off there was a white band across my forehead.
“It was hard and physically challenging, especially in the midday heat which was in excess of 40 degree.
“When you got to a water stop, you would ask somebody to pour a bucket of ice cold water down your back and what a relief it was.
“I usually hate the cold, especially cold water but you couldn’t wait to have it poured over you because that was the only thing really that would cool you down.
“It was a fantastic experience and the people in both Vietnam and Cambodia were the most kind natured, happy people I’ve seen ever.
“All the kids would run to the side of the road with some of their parents and they’d wave and shout hello. They would hold out their hands so that you could touch them as you went by.
“It was a wonderful, enlightening experience I am a lot more chilled since my return.
“It made me realise that if all of us would spend two weeks living as they do we’d soon count our blessings, as we have running clean water, good quality sanitary systems, education and a health service.”
Fundraising Officer for Zoe’s Place, John McCormack, who organised the mammoth bike ride, said: “Ruth raised a fantastic amount of money. After she found out about the trip she got her friends involved, so she really rallied the troops.
“We’ve raised over a £160,000 between everyone so far and we’ve still got money coming in so the final figure could be as much as £180,000, which is a phenomenal amount for the hospice.
“It’s far exceeded my expectations. We estimated that we might get £50,000 or something like that. But because people like Ruth have done such a fantastic job for us we’ve raised far more than that.
“It will make a huge difference to the children that we care for. We need to raise £1.4 million a year just to keep going. If we wanted to have another bed or something like that then we’d need extra money on top of that.
“Our costs tent to go up year on year, by about £100,000 because we get more and more referrals.”
The bike ride was the latest in a series of charitable events supported by Ruth who has raised in excess of £150,000 for North Wales charities including St David’s Hospice in Llandudno, Tŷ Gobaith children’s hospice in the Conwy valley and Cancer Research UK.
Ruth said: “I am so glad I was able to complete this challenge because Zoe’s Place is a fantastic facility.
“The support and professional help – both medical and personal – to each family is truly amazing.
“The team at Zoe’s Place are dedicated to their patients and their families and do their utmost to help, support, and improve their quality of life to ensure they make every day as special as it can possibly be.
“It’s really heart-warming to see their dedication, happy faces and cheery dispositions which make for a happier environment for patients and their families and I am so pleased that we have been able to raise such a good amount for such a deserving cause.”
Anybody wanting to make a donation should go to https://www.justgiving.com/ruth-macbryde/