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Left to right: Angie Vosper, George Vosper, Chris Burden and Anna Duckworth. 

Man with serious lung condition raises funds for research in epic Westcountry cycling challenge

A man with a serious lung disease is taking on an epic Westcountry cycling challenge to raise funds for research into his condition.

George Vosper, 57, who has Pulmonary Fibrosis, is set to cycle 140 miles across four counties on an electric bicycle, to raise funds for research for the condition.

The Army veteran, from Ivybridge in Devon, will cycle four events between May and September, each 35 miles long, to raise funds for research. He will ride through Somerset, Dorset, Cornwall and Devon throughout May, July, and September.

After successfully completing his first cycling event, The Taunton Flyer, last Sunday George said: “Not letting the rain and cold deter us, my wife Angie and I cycled 37 miles and climbed 2,500 feet through the beautiful Blackdown hills. Dropping my pace occasionally and resting helped my oxygen levels and it worked. What an awesome experience!”

“I’ve always been a keen cyclist but after spending 3 weeks in a coma and 3 months in hospital I was so weak, I thought I would never cycle again but the E-bike has given me the power my lungs can no longer provide.”

“My biggest challenge is to control my breathing and keep a close eye on my oxygen levels. I have first class help from my wife and friends who are riding with me.’

Pulmonary Fibrosis is a condition in which the lungs scar and breathing becomes increasingly difficult. Symptoms develop gradually and worsen overtime and include breathlessness, coughing fits, tiredness, and loss of appetite. The condition usually affects people aged 70 to 75 years old but is rare in people under 50.

The father-of-two added: “I look for the positives, allowing me to look around with a big smile on my face, grateful for what I have with hope for the future. I am humbled by every single donation which will go towards vital research into this devastating illness.”

Little is known about what causes pulmonary fibrosis, and George’s fundraising will go towards research, with the view to demystifying the condition and working towards a cure.

George has already surpassed his initial fundraising target of £1,000, raising £1,600 and counting. Proceeds are being donated to EPIC, a research charity within the University of Exeter. The organisation was set up so that patients could work alongside researchers to improve outcomes, and now supports research that is looking to find treatments and ultimately a cure for the condition.

Dr Chris Scotton, who leads a research programme on lung disease, said: “Pulmonary fibrosis causes more than 1% of all UK deaths, because treatment options are limited and there’s no cure. Patients like George are an inspiration. Not only because he works with our team to help direct our research, but also as a crucial reminder of why we’re doing the research in the first place. This disease causes the normal lung to be replaced by scar tissue, which severely restricts lung capacity and makes it increasingly difficult to breathe. I can’t even imagine how frightening that must be. And I’d find it tough to beat the undulating hills of the South West on an e-bike, so I’m incredibly impressed that George is tackling this head on!”

George is supported by his wife, Angie, and his two children at university, the NHS, the Army and Veteran Community and newly formed friends he’s met through the Pulmonary Fibrosis community.

Read more about George’s EPIC challenge, starting 1 May:

Date: 4 May 2022

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