Friends ride from London to Paris to help raise money for charityFriends of Shrewsbury fan and BBC presenter Colin Bloomfield have come together to help raise money for a cancer charity after he was diagnosed with stage four melanoma.
Colin, who works for BBC Radio Derby but also commentates on Shrewsbury matches for the club's website, was told the news that the cancer had spread to his lungs just over a year ago. In May, doctors informed him they had also found five brain tumours. Days later, he suffered the death of his father Lawrie, a Greeenhous Meadow press box regular, who died at the age of 80 after a short illness.
Colin is well known in Derby for his radio work, commentating on Derby County for four seasons before taking on the role as the station's Breakfast show presenter. To show their support, Rams fans applauded for a minute in their Wembley play-off final against QPR in May to show after a number of fans suggested the idea on social media. Burton Albion supporters did the same, 48 hours later, during their game with Fleetwood.
"I thought there may be one or two who might clap but I didn't expect to see and hear around 40,000 take part," said Colin. "It was a truly humbling experience, one I will never forget."
Since the match, Colin has started a new treatment which seems to be having a positive effect.
"The drug I'm on tends to work quite quickly and effectively, and within a week of starting it, every tumour had shrunk - including the ones on my brain and lungs," he said.
Colin said he has been overwhelmed with messages of support on social media, while letters, cards and emails have also been sent to BBC Radio Derby. After being off air for several months, he's now back at the station part time and hopes to return to the airwaves soon.
One of the other positives of the applause was the money raised for the charity Melanoma UK, with nearly £2000 being donated.
"It's a small charity and the cash will go a long way in helping people like me, and others in the same situation," said Colin.
"There's a perception that skin cancer isn't a serious problem and it's true that for those people diagnosed early, it's very treatable. But for late stage patients like me, when it's spread to their organs, there's still no cure and the five year survival rates are shockingly low. Unfortunately we're seeing more and more people get skin cancer, especially the young, and I can speak from personal experience about what a brutal disease it is."
Now some of Colin's close friends from Shrewsbury are coming together to show their support. Michael Price, Chris Webster, David Evison, Gerry Leahy, Steve Price, Justin Klekot and Richard Rawson are cycling 250 miles from London to Paris. They started this week from Tower Bridge and are due to finish at the Eiffel Tower today (Saturday). They're all big Town fans.
Mr Evison said: "Melanoma was not a disease any of us were particularly familiar with and we have been shocked by the stark reality of the illness. While we can offer support and friendship to Colin as he undergoes his treatment, we are all obviously unable to provide any practical help. So, as a show of support for him, in order to raise some money and importantly as a way of raising awareness of the illness, we are going to do the cycle ride."
The group has been training for several months and has so far raised more than £2500 for Melanoma UK.
"These lads don't really do a lot of cycling, and are quite scared of traffic!" joked Colin. "It's going to be a huge effort for them. The landscape of Melanoma treatment is now changing, with new drugs trials and combinations providing new hope for patients and their families. That's only been possible thanks to money being put forward to charities like Melanoma UK. If any Shrewsbury fans are able to dig down the back of the sofa and support them with donations, that would be fantastic."
To sponsor Team CB please visit their Just Giving page: www.justgiving.com/Team-CB1 or go on to the website teamcb2014.co.uk/