Cycle4Sepp: Sam Hall, formerly of Sky Sports, cycling 2,400 miles from Helsinki to Epsom in memory of his son Sepp

Cycle4Sepp: Sam Hall, formerly of Sky Sports, cycling 2,400 miles from Helsinki to Epsom in memory of his son Sepp

On Sunday I set out on a 2,400-mile bike ride from Helsinki to Epsom in aid of Momentum's Children's Charity. I'm hoping to complete the ride in 20 days.

So further than the Tour de France, and in less time.

There are several reasons for doing this, but centrally behind it all is honouring the memory of my son Sepp, who died in October last from a rare cancer called atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (ATRT).

Sepp was two months shy of his fourth birthday when he lost his three-year battle against the disease. Sepp was a wonderful boy, who didn't let the pitfalls life had thrown at him impact in any way on its pleasures and joys.

Despite numerous rounds of chemotherapy, tumour removals, radiotherapy, and a 24-hour cycle of drugs, he always managed to smile and laugh his way through it all. Twice he defied logic and was given the all-clear, only for the ATRT cancer to return. As the specialist team at Great Ormond Street Hospital constantly told us, Sepp was unique.

Through Sepp's three-year treatment, and lockdown, I always found salvation from the madness on my bike. There's something incredibly liberating and fulfilling in being able to just set off, who knows where, and getting there through your own efforts.

Momentum Children's Charity was there to support our family from the start. They are a local charity that helps families, like ours, that have children with life-changing diseases. They also partner with local hospitals, such as Epsom, to improve the experience in children's wards.

My wife and I have both received counselling through Momentum, and my elder son had play therapy, as well as visits from Santa and a falconer, to name a few. We've also been fortunate enough to have use of Momentum's holiday lodge in the New Forest, a place Sepp adored.

When Sepp died I felt an overwhelming urge to give some sense and purpose to his death. The idea to undertake this challenge for Momentum was pretty much instant. Sepp's mum is from Finland, and my son has dual nationality, so linking Sepp's two homes together through cycling seemed the natural choice. Once I'd plotted out the route, it became clear to me I should've married someone from Germany!

Since the inception of Cycle4Sepp, support and help from family and friends has been phenomenal. Without their encouragement, I'm not sure I would've got through the hard months of training, which was made doubly hard thanks to the weather we've had in 2023.

Outside of the hard miles on the roads of Surrey, I've had a training camp in Majorca and ridden in the Balkans, crossing between Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina.

The support I've received from the world of sport has also been incredible. My training programme was devised by former international cyclist, Ben Wilson.

I've received messages of support from Olympic legends Chris Hoy and Daley Thompson, and Sky Sports' very own Jamie Carragher, Dave Jones, Gary Neville, as well Emma Paton, the F1 team, Adam Smith, George Lineker and Eurosport's Giro presenters. The goodwill, and fundraising efforts, has been phenomenal and I know Sepp would've loved it.

The ride begins on Sunday, where I'll be accompanied on the first stage by family and some friends from my local cycling club. The start and finish are the things I'm most looking forward to.

The build-up and training has felt like it's been going on forever, so to just get going will be an immense relief and exciting.

As for the finish, I can't wait to complete it, for the elation, sense of achievement and to end this particular chapter of the bereavement process.

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