A CYCLIST whose father is terminally ill with prostate cancer is to bike through the Alps to raise vital funds for researchers hunting for a cure.
Euan Harrison. 31, who lost his grandfather to the same illness, said he hoped the journey from Edinburgh Castle to Monaco Palace would also increase public awareness of the cancer, which affects more Scottish men than any other.
He said the 15-day trip, scheduled for May, would allow him to pay tribute to his “amazing” father, Sid, 57, who will accompany his son as a member of the support team.
Mr Harrison, who works as a stock movement assistant at Harvey Nichols, said: “This journey is not about me – it’s totally about creating awareness of a deadly illness.”
He said he was “devastated” when it was revealed seven years ago that his father had advanced prostate cancer which could not be operated on.
And he admitted that the fact his grandad and uncle also suffered from the illness made his father’s sudden diagnosis doubly crushing.
But he added that knowing all money raised would go to Orchid – a charity that funds research and provides support services for those affected by male cancer – had made him more determined to complete the “gruelling” journey.
“Unfortunately, there’s nothing that can be done now to fix my dad,” said Mr Harrison.
“He’s on medication that’s helping to prolong his life – and I feel lucky to have had the years I’ve had with him – but the fact is he will never be given the all-clear.
“But for myself and my younger brother, David, and other men who are at risk from prostate cancer, this trip will hopefully help to find a solution.
“It will be hard but I’ve done lots of training in the gym, as well as hill training and climbing, and I know I’m in good condition.”
He said he had chosen the route because of its associations with the Monaco Grand Prix.
“In a way the route completes a family story,” he said. “Motor racing is in my blood. My dad was a privateer when he was younger and did his own saloon car racing, and it’s something I love as well.
“So in a way, cycling to Monaco is a bit of a treat.”
Sid Harrison said he was “hugely proud” of his son’s decision to go ahead with the journey.
“Men are not aware enough of prostate cancer,” he said. “What Euan is doing is immensely valuable as something that will get men talking about it and raise money for research into a cure.”