Jenko backs Brain Tumour Research fundraiser

Hammers full-back Carl Jenkinson is throwing his weight behind a unique charity cycle for a terminally ill father-of-two
Most West Ham United fans will know one end of the District Line all too well. But few will have travelled the length of it and even fewer will have done so on two wheels.  

That is the challenge that awaits a group of plucky fundraisers on Sunday, in an inspiring show of solidarity and support for father-of-two and lifelong Hammers fan Steve Lloyd, who is living with a terminal brain tumour.

Steve, who spent the entirety of his 22-year career working for London Underground, was latterly managing at Ealing Common depot, meaning his lengthy District Line commute would take him past his beloved Boleyn Ground each and every day. 

And so, fittingly, Sunday’s District Line Cycle Challenge will see riders use London’s self-service Santander Cycles to cover 74 miles overground, taking in all 61 stations. 

Each team will set off from a different terminus – Ealing Broadway, Richmond, Wimbledon, Edgware Road, and Upminster – finishing at Tower Hill. There, at the Minories pub, Hammers full-back Carl Jenkinson will be among the many well-wishers waiting to salute the cyclists.      

Carl’s father, Steve, worked alongside Steve Lloyd for many a year at London Underground and the Jenkinson family are as determined as any to do their bit for a valued friend.  

Sadly, Carl’s parents lost a five-year-old son to cancer before Carl had even been born and so the 23-year-old is acutely aware of the disease’s shattering might.  

“I could tell just from talking to my dad how much it meant it to him,” Carl explained. “I’ve never seen him almost moved to tears and yet he was when he was speaking to me about this. 

“I’ve never had too much to do with my old man’s work. He always keeps it to himself, but he’s spoken about Steve in glowing terms and that’s more than enough for me. It made me want to do my bit and help out as much as I possibly could. 

“Personally, my mum and dad lost a son, and I lost a brother, to cancer, so it’s something that’s always been close to the family. Cancer tears people’s lives to pieces, it just comes out of the blue and it’s such a devastating disease.

“Obviously people are trying to do their utmost for Steve.  His family and friends just want to show their love and support and do everything to not only raise money for the charity but to find a breakthrough in a cure, treatment or whatever it may be. 

“I found it mind-blowing that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer. So as much as anything, we want to raise awareness.”   
It’s such a tough time that’s being turned into a beautiful thing, so it’s important to be there to witness it.
Among the chief organisers of the District Line Cycle Challenge is Leon Hall, Upgrade Delivery Manager with Transport for London, who has a longstanding association with the Jenkinson family. 

As the big day draws near, Leon paid a massive vote of thanks to Carl and his dad Steve for their backing and generosity, confident that together they can achieve something very special on Sunday in the name of Steve Lloyd.      

“I might be biased, as I have known the family for a while, but their support for our cause has been immense,” Leon said. “Carl’s father Steve is an absolute star.

“I can’t say thank you enough for the boost that the personal donation and the interest in our cause has given our fundraisers and the charity Brain Tumour Research. 

“I’m sure that the effort we have gone to and the support we have received from everyone, especially all at West Ham United, truly does make a difference.”  

Each rider is collecting sponsorship and there will also be opportunities for the travelling public to donate at stations along the line in the run-up to the event. The money raised will help to fund vital research at four Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence including one at Queen Mary University of London. 

In the midst of such a tragedy, Carl is astonished by the will and courage of Steve Lloyd, together with his loved ones, and hopes that people will dig deep to support this most heart-wrenching of causes. 

Steve’s wife, Angela, is set to ride the final leg of the event and Carl, understandably, is humbled and inspired to be lending his considerable backing.             

He continued: “I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like for Steve and his family. It’s touching to think in such a dark time like this, they’re thinking about other people and trying to help others not go through the same sort of thing. 

“To have that sort of mind-set in the most desperate time in your life is a very special thing. It says a lot about Steve and a lot about his family and I just want as many people as possible to contribute towards the charity and get behind it. 

“It’s a unique thing they’re doing and it’s captured the imagination. I’m going to go up there and cheer them on, just to be there to support the fundraiser and be a part of it. It’s such a tough time that’s being turned into a beautiful thing, so it’s important to be there to witness it.” 

To donate, text DLCC15 £3 to 70070 or visit their Virgin Money Giving page here and you can follow their progress on the day using the hashtag #DLCC15.