One man has cycled around the world to raise money for a charity that makes terminally ill children’s dreams come true.
Chris checked out an iconic Boris bike one fine day in the English capital. A month later, he returned to London and checked his bike back into a Westminster station, paying a hefty £300 fine.
Chris told UNILAD how it was all worth it, after his adventure of a lifetime inspired the 24-year-old’s global money-raising campaign for the charity, Dreams Come True.
You can watch Chris’ video diary, filmed by his mate Alex Tyrwhitt, below:
Chris and his friend, Alex, travelled from London to Rome, by way of Paris and Dubai, Delhi and New York, Las Vegas and San Francisco, cycling together as they went.
Speaking exclusively to UNILAD, Chris recounted his travels:
All of the places we went to were amazing but our favourite by far was India.
We stayed with a friend from Delhi who drove us four hours to visit the Taj Mahal.
When we got there, security wouldn’t let us inside with the bike.
After travelling all this way we couldn’t leave without seeing the Taj Mahal so we found a local tour guide – he sat on Alex’s lap in the car with the Boris Bike taking up the other car seats.
He took us to some private land out the back of the Taj Mahal where we gave the security guards some money to go inside.
Chris and Alex, 22, caused quite the stir among locals, who fell in love with the Boris bike.
The people we met had no idea what to make of the bike. They kept trying to buy it from me, and when I let them ride it around, they sat on it as if it was some kind of Ferrari.
Chris and Alex decided to cycle around the world to raise awareness for the charity, Dreams Come True.
In August, Chris will be swimming across the English Channel in the hopes of raising £25,000 for the cause. The money will be spent granting terminally ill children a wish, such as a dream holiday or experience.
Despite cycling many kilometres every day on their trip, Chris explained that ‘the hard part was swimming in the evenings each day, no matter what the time zone.’
While his trauma was nothing compared to what is experienced by the young children for whom he is raising money, Chris added, ‘I had been swimming 20km each week during the trip.’
Chris told UNILAD that hoped to raise global awareness for the small British charity with his worldwide cycle, recalling the positive reception he received from people he met on his travels, who were keen to donate their support and money.
All of them thought we were crazy, but they loved the story behind what we were doing and gave us their email addresses to send them the video once it had been uploaded to YouTube.
Chris decided to commit his fund-raising efforts to Dreams Come True because, ‘It’s one of the UK’s smallest charities so hardly gets the recognition it deserves.’
I’ve been fortunate in my life to do things like travel, study, and open a business so I know I’ve got a lot to be grateful for. Dreams Come True really felt like a charity I could connect with. They even told me they’d let me know exactly which families will be granted which dreams with the money raised and that I could potentially meet them.
Chris is currently preparing for his English Chanel swim, which will see him cross the 35km over to France, unsupported and without even a wet-suit to keep him company.
As the co-founder of fitness nutrition company, Nutristrength, he’s probably better placed than most to tackle the freezing waters, strong currents and inevitable muscle exhaustion.
The swim itself is taking place between 14th-20th August, depending on the weather.
Chris described the training process and the gruelling conditions, saying:
Training for this is definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m swimming between 25km-30km per week, combined with 2 gym sessions and sports massages. All of which are nothing to look forward to!
I will typically train 5-6 times per week, each consisting of 5-6km per set with the odd 10km straight swim. Things are only going to increase now though especially as it’s starting to warm up and I know I’ll be spending all my summer weekends swimming in Dover Harbour.
Love this photo. Captured by @alex_tyrwhitt while we were filming the English Channel release video last October. Less than 7 months to go now so need to up the training and eat more burritos ? #EnglishChannel #OpenWaterSwimming #DreamsComeTrue #EnglishChannelSwim #LesRochesDreams #LRBAlumni #Swimming #Swim #DoverHarbour #Dover #DoverStrait #Nutristrength #OpenWater
Chris added reaching his donation target would be an ‘incredible’ achievement:
The level of motivation to complete the swim would be insane. I know there will be times when I want to quit but I’m going to be giving it my all.
It feels great to spend some time training in the open water after 6 months of chlorinated pools! #cashmeintheseahowboutdat #DreamsComeTrue #LRBAlumni #LesRochesDreams #NikkiBeach #NikkiBeachDubai #EnglishChannel #EnglishChannelTraining #EnglishChannel2017 #Dubai #MyDubai #OpenWater #OpenWaterSwimming #SeaSwimming #Nutristrength #UAE #Swimming #SwimTraining #OceansOfInstagram
Helen Brownstone, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Dreams Come True told UNILAD:
Chris is pushing himself to the limits with the Channel Swim and we’re honoured to have him supporting us. His efforts will go towards helping us provide the power of dreams to more children and young people with serious and life-limiting illnesses.
…Dreams such as 6-year-old Shiloh’s. She has Cystic Fibrosis, which requires extensive treatment from exercise to physio and medications. Shiloh’s dream is to meet her family in Jamaica as, in her words, she is the only one who has not met them.
Having a dream fulfilled is about more than the day, it provides a focus; a break from the daily routine of doctors’ appointments and treatments. It has a lasting, impactful memory on our dream children and their families.
Excited to be back at @nikkibeachhoteldubai next week while I'm exhibiting @nutristrength at @gulfood with @adamhutchin. I love that I can swim each morning in the sea as it's right on their doorstep! ? by the most creative bloke I know @alex_tyrwhitt #EnglishChannelSwim #DreamsComeTrue #NikkiBeach #LesRochesDreams #EnglishChannel #Nutristrength #LRBAlumni #LRBstudents #Swimming #OpenWaterSwimming #Dubai #MyDubai #EnglishChannel2017 #SwimTraining #Swim #OpenWater #MarathonSwimming
You can help Chris reach his target by visiting his VirginMoneyGiving charity page.
Or, if you’re interested in taking on a challenge for Dreams Come True, there are plenty of things you can do, from running a 10k to trekking across the arctic.
For more information and ideas, please visit Dreams Come True online and sign-up for your fundraising pack.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.