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Hampstead cancer survivor cycles 1,400 miles for child brain tumour treatment

Nieves La Casta flys her native Spanish flag at the finish point in John O'Groats. Nieves La Casta flys her native Spanish flag at the finish point in John O'Groats.

Friday, September 5, 2014
3:00 PM

A Hampstead cancer survivor has cycled 1,400 miles to four corners of Great Britain to raise money for a centre supporting children with brain tumours.

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Spanish-born Nieves La Casta, 52, of Heath Hurst Road, embarked on a 16-day biking marathon from Land’s End, in Cornwall, to John O’Groats, in the Scottish Highlands, last month.

The mother-of-two was part of a team of 15 riders who set off from Land’s End on August 14 and rode to Hythe on the south coast of Kent, then Cape Wrath on the Scottish coast, before finishing in John O’Groats in aid of the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre at Nottingham University.

Ms La Casta, a solicitor who is currently taking a long distance course at Nottingham University, said: “It was really tough. When I registered for the challenge, I didn’t even have a bike so I think I was a bit naive.

“I trained at The Armoury gym and spent endless hours going up hills in Hampstead, Highgate and Hampstead Garden Suburb but nothing prepares you for 1,400 miles.

“There were points in the ride where I didn’t think I was going to make it.”

Ms La Casta, who successfully fought her own year-long battle with lymphoma cancer after being diagnosed in 2005, was inspired to take up the challenge by couple Andy and Jude Foote, whose nine-year-old son Joseph died of a brain tumour in 2007 and have since supported the research centre in Nottingham.

She met the couple with her husband Daniel Hallgarten, a former Nottingham University student, through his links to the university’s alumni network and decided to join Andy on last month’s ride.

“We met this couple and they are an amazing couple because they could have become victims of the pain of losing their son,” she said.

“But they dedicated all their time to research into brain tumour treatment for children. I was really humbled by them.”

The epic ride was the fourth instalment of the Life Cycle series, an annual fundraising challenge headed by Nottingham University vice-chancellor Prof Sir David Greenaway.

Prof Sir Greenaway and his team, including Ms La Casta, cycled for 12 hours-a-day during the challenge, staying in hostels and university halls of residence along the way.

They aim to raise £750,000 between them for the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre at Nottingham University.

If you wish to support Ms La Casta’s efforts, visit justgiving.com/lifecycle4-nieves

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