Cyclists saddled up for brave Dan

Dan Sullivan with (left to right) Billy Monsen, Dwane Douglas, Billy Lloyd, Carl Monsen, John Davenport and Lee Douglas at Newcastle Quayside
Dan Sullivan with (left to right) Billy Monsen, Dwane Douglas, Billy Lloyd, Carl Monsen, John Davenport and Lee Douglas at Newcastle Quayside

A KIND-HEARTED group of friends got in the saddle to raise thousands of pounds for a terminally ill youngster.

The five men endured a 124-mile coast to coast bike ride from Silloth, in Cumbria, to Newcastle Quayside to raise funds for seven-year-old Hartlepool boy Dan Sullivan.

The battling youngster was diagnosed with myeloid leukaemia, an aggressive and rare blood disorder, in May last year and the Mail reported last month how the Eldon Grove Primary School pupil got to fulfil his dream when his pop idol Jessie J invited him on stage to help her sing in front of 11,000 fans.

Now Dan’s family have been given a boost after his uncle, Carl Monsen, and four friends, Dwane Douglas, Lee Douglas, John Davenport and Billy Lloyd, tackled the bike ride in Dan’s honour.

The group thinks more than £3,000 has been raised. The money will go to the Believe in Magic charity, which helped to arrange for Dan to meet Jessie J.

Dan and his family, including mum Gillian, 45, and granddad Billy Monsen, watched the riders cross the finishing line.

Gillian lives in Park Road and is married to Gary, 46, company director of Platform Lift Solutions. She said: “I just want to thank them for everything they’ve done, it’s amazing.

“It was lovely to be there and watch them come in. They have really gone out of their way.”

Businessman Carl, 43, who is married to Donna, 46, and lives in the Dyke House area, said: “We were all on a high on the last leg of the ride because we knew Dan was going to be there at the Quayside waiting for us.”

Carl, who is dad to Carly, 23, Jay, 21, Demi, 18, and 12-year-old Leah, added: “We were shattered and there were a few sores, but obviously nothing on the level of what Dan is going through.”

Dwane Douglas, a 46-year-old dad-of-two from the Rift House area has raised around £50,000 for charity, including £4,000 for Hartlepool & District Hospice when he tackled a coast to coast ride last year, again with John Davenport.

He said: “It makes you proud to be able to help a bairn like that who is suffering so much.”

Gillian, who is also mum to Anthony, 27, Luke, 21, twins Carl and Lewis, 17, and 15-year-old Conor, also thanked Kimberley Gough Dance School for raising £1,300 for Dan during a charity night, Micky Day for donating treats for the youngster and Belle Vue Old Boys football team which raised £1,000 through a charity boxing match.

The Mail previously reported that medics discovered that Dan had a gene mutation which means once a leukaemia cell is present it continues to reproduce and multiply making it difficult to control.

He started a successful course of chemotherapy and was given the all-clear by doctors at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary. But in March last year after several bouts of illness and tiredness, further tests showed the disease had returned.