RoundHouse Challenge

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When Lucas Munro was just 18 months old he was diagnosed with a 4-inch tumour in his chest.

The mass was such that his heart was pushed over to the wrong side of his body, his windpipe was deviated, and one of his lungs collapsed.

The toddler underwent a gruelling 6 hour operation at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool to remove the lipoblastoma – a grapefruit sized growth of fat cells which, although benign, was never-the-less life threatening – and remarkably, returned home to Winsford just 3 weeks later.

Now a lively, bright and bubbly four-year-old, you’d be forgiven for thinking Lucas is a different child. Having once struggled to run from one side of a room to the other without stopping to catch his breath or turning blue, he’s now so energetic it’s difficult to keep up with him, so it’s easy to forget how critically ill he once was.

Although his surgery and subsequent stay in intensive care was a traumatic time for both Lucas and his family, they were able to keep a 24 hour vigil at his bedside throughout his hospitalisation thanks to the services offered by the Ronald McDonald House at Alder Hey.

Fully charity funded, the House offers accommodation and support to families of seriously ill children within a stone’s throw of the hospital entrance. Lucas’ grandparents Bob and Shirley Dowding are about to embark on a 5-day motorcycle ride-out to raise money for the charity that makes all of this possible.

Riding Bob’s Kawasaki Z1000SX and Shirley’s 600 Honda Hornet, they will be setting out from the Ronald McDonald House at Yorkhill Hospital for Sick Children, to travel some 1300 miles around the UK over the August Bank Holiday long weekend, visiting each of the 14 Ronald McDonald Houses in the country in just 5 days.

The route incorporates Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford, Basildon, four Houses in London, then on to Brighton, Southampton, Bristol and the Wirral before finally arriving at Alder Hey in Liverpool.

Bob and Shirley hope to raise at least £2000 towards helping other families of critically ill babies and children, and also to raise awareness of the charities behind a service that makes things just a little bit easier at what, for many, is the worst time of their lives.

If anyone on two wheels would like to join them for any part of the ride-out (which takes place from Friday 23rd to Tuesday 27th August), they will be publishing a route plan through Facebook.

he page is owned by Bernie Biker-Bear, a superhero soft toy who Lucas has chosen to tag along on the ride-out, and who will be posting photos and updates along the way.

If you can support Bob and Shirley by sponsorship, visit or text BBRC88 £ followed by your donation amount to 70070 – all donations are secure and will go directly to the Alder Hey Ronald McDonald House.

Bob and Shirley Dowding

Reader's article

By Bob and Shirley Dowding