A heartbroken man is cycling 350 miles to Hamilton in memory of his late girlfriend who recently died from Crohn’s disease.
Kerry McWhirter was only 34 when she passed away in May this year after a long battle with the condition.
The Burnbank mum and partner Lee Edwards, from Grimsby, maintained a long-distance relationship for over a year as the couple travelled hundreds of miles every weekend to meet.
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Now Lee has been paying special tribute to beloved Kerry this week by making the 350-mile trip on his bike, supported by friends who have been out on the road with him.
The 45-year-old is determined to raise more awareness of Crohn’s disease and, through his good deed, he has already raised over £12,000 for Crohn’s and Colitis UK.
Lee told Lanarkshire Live : “We were together for a year, I was working in Grangemouth when we bumped into each other and we just hit it off.
“With the logistics of the distance, we thought it would become a problem, but it didn’t. And we maintained every weekend pretty much that we would travel one direction or the other to see each other.
“Part of the reason I’m doing this is because I was probably very naïve to Crohn’s disease – even when Kerry told me she had it, I didn’t know anything about it.
“I’ve had a crash course in the condition whilst being with Kerry and since she’s passed, and so many people I’ve spoken to don’t know much about it.
“And people who have it seem to keep it to themselves and don’t tell people about it, and that seems to be quite common.”
Kerry underwent a major operation prior to meeting Lee.
Crohn’s disease is a life-long condition that affects the digestive system causing intense stomach pain and discomfort.
Kerry sadly lost her life on May 6 this year. Now Lee wants to show everyone how much she meant to him as he tackles his mammoth challenge.
The riders set off last Monday, cycling hours upon hours every day and staying at campsites at night. The lads have picked up some bumps and bruises on the way, but were determined to cross the finish line in Burnbank.
Lee added: “It’s been hard since losing Kerry.
“But now I want to raise awareness of Crohn’s, raise some funds to make a difference, and make a statement to Kerry’s friends and family to show how much she meant to me.
“I’m quite fortunate to have such close friends to be in my corner and obviously I’m just very grateful for everyone donating. Everyone’s making such a difference and I thank them for it.
“We’re all carrying injuries but we’re all still going.
“The campsites have been so receptive for us. Every time we’ve turned up nobody’s taken any money off us. The people have all been on board, it’s been touching.”
A Just Giving page set up by Lee has gained huge support by friends, family and people supporting the cause.
A statement from Lee on the page read: “My girlfriend Kerry McWhirter whom I loved deeply was just 34 years old when she lost her battle with the disease.
“She was a loving mum, loved by everyone around her and also excelled in her chosen sport of karate in which she was five times Scottish champion. She was so full of life and had so much still to give.
“Most weekends we drove 350 miles between my home on the east coast of England and her home in Hamilton, Scotland to see each other and I intend to ride this distance on a bike with a group of friends to raise money for the charity.”
You can donate to Lee’s online fundraiser here.
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