Life-Saving Treatment Leads to Charity Cycling Challenge


Two Staffordshire business owners are cycling 2020km to raise money for the Royal Stoke Hospital, after a brush with death turned their lives upside down.


Cycling enthusiasts Michelle Vorel-Adams and her partner Phil Fortun are using their daily exercise to raise money for the hospital after it saved her life last year. She suffered a life-threatening DVT and had to spend four days at the hospital.

Prompted by the lockdown, the couple are cycling from their home in Withington near Uttoxeter to JCB’s Rocester Lake and back again – a total of 68 kms each day in a challenge they’re calling RIDE2020 UK.

During their daily ride they are also raising awareness of the European Capitals and Cities of Sport Federation (ACES Europe) for which Michelle is the UK and Ireland President. It’s a leading international sport and health organisation set up to encourage people to exercise and live healthily. They’re wearing a different flag each day to mark each of the awarded 30 European destinations in 2020.

Their aim is to raise at least £2020 for the hospital’s charity and they’ve already got some big-name support partners. These include: JCB providing the venue, Fox’s Biscuits donating over 250 Rocky Bars, Mornflake donating 2080 Porridge Pots, QPS Print producing all the RIDE2020UK boards and flags, Denise O’Sullivan donating 30 ceramic ‘Huggaloves’, SweetSpot donating signed cycle jerseys, Denstone Hall Farm donating a celebration cake and deluxe hamper, Francesco Group donating £220 worth of hair products and ACES Europe coordinating the European publicity. They hope to secure further support and donations from other organisations during RIDE2020UK.

The couple who own Uttoxeter based international sports and commerce business Sphere Connect are aiming to finish the ride by June 10th.

Michelle said: “Phil and I are keen cyclists and I’ve been heavily involved in organising cycling events throughout my career. We cycle most days but at the end of last year I noticed a real problem with my leg – it was painful and swollen. It got steadily worse and one morning I was unable to walk down the stairs and I ended up being taken to hospital by ambulance. It was only when we got there that we realised just how serious it was. I could have died if it wasn’t for the amazing care I had there.

“My life turned on its head. One minute I was cycling the next I was in serious trouble. The staff were amazing and ultimately saved my life. Seeing what the NHS are doing to look after Covid19 patients is truly humbling

and Phil and I just want to say thank you for everything they’ve done and are doing. As part of my recovery we were cycling daily at the start of lockdown when I decided that I wanted to give something back and with our interest in the sport I decided that was the best way to do it, “ she added.

Phil explained: “We wanted to cycle 2020km – to mark the pandemic year 2020, cycling 1010km each. We’ve already had fantastic support from our support partners including JCB who are allowing us to cycle around the lake at their World HQ as part of our daily ride. The money we raise will support the Royal Stoke Hospital as well as buying kit in response to the Covid-19 crisis. Exercise is so important for wellbeing and this is helping us stay fit and helping the NHS.”

Gian Francesco Lupattelli, the President of ACES Europe said “I am delighted that Michelle and her partner are undertaking their RIDE 2020 UK to raise funds and equipment for their local hospital at this extremely tough time. Governments and leaders across Europe are telling us that health, wellbeing, and exercise are key to defeating Coronavirus and will be hugely important moving forwards. ACES Europe exists to help promote sport and healthy lifestyles and I congratulate our UK & Ireland President on this initiative.”

You can follow their Journey at #Ride2020UK on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to donate through Virgin Money Ride2020UK.

If you would like to fundraise for UHNM Charity visit for more information, or call 01782 676444 to speak to one of the UHNM Chaity team.