A pair of brothers have embarked on an ambitious challenge for a good cause this month - travelling to London in a pedalo boat.
Matt, 24, and 20-year-old Brandon Greenwood set sail 1 Septmeber on a 206km voyage. In 2003, after finding a lump during a routine dentist appointment, a close family member of the brothers was diagnosed with throat and mouth cancer. After having nearly all their teeth and half of his tongue removed, their relative was cleared of cancer in 2006 - but it would not be the end to his suffering. After intensive radiotherapy the chemo got rid of the cancer but destroyed the jaw bone - last year, when getting out of bed one morning, the jaw completely broke.
After being cleared of cancer the Greenwoods were told by doctors that their relative was at risk of septicaemia due to the decay of the jaw bone, giving him 12 months to live. He would need reconstructive surgery to rebuild the jaw.
Matt said: “The NHS said they would be able to rebuild it, but it was about eight months – they couldn’t guarantee they could get him in. So, we couldn’t get it done on the NHS in time to guarantee his life.”
After getting quotes from consultants in London they found the operation would cost between £40,000 and £50,000 in the UK and there would still be a long waiting list.
Matt said: "After meeting a contact in Belgium the family were able to find the same treatment cheaper and at a sooner date."
Unable to find the £15,000 for the operation immediately, the Greenwood's were able to receive a loan in order for their relative to get the treatment as soon as possible.
Since the operation in April the brothers are keen to repay as much of the debt as they can. Having found a 10-year-old pedalo in July, the brothers are trying to fundraise the money by setting sail from Lechlade Bridge to Teddington Lock as the "Pedalo Bros".
Brandon said: "This challenge means the world to us. Having the chance to help a family member out of medical debt is the most rewarding feeling we have ever experienced.
"I’m very optimistic about this challenge. Of course, it’s going to be hard. There’re going to be some very tiresome moments along the way. But I have no doubt that we will complete the 206km, with pride, having done our family proud."
The Pedalo Bros feel emotionally indebted to repay the money that gave their family the option for life-saving surgery. The brothers are hoping to complete their journey - which will include 43 locks and eight hours in the pedalo per day - in ten days.
So far Matt and Brandon have raised over £2,000.
To keep up to date with their voyage visit www.pedalobros.co.uk