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Wrexham doctor gears up for 400 mile charity bike ride

A consultant paediatrician at Wrexham Maelor Hospital is gearing up for a 400 mile charity bike ride to raise money towards child health research in North Wales.

On Sunday, 20th June, Dr Artur Abelian will set off on the first leg of his challenge, leaving his Wrexham home at the break of dawn to embark on a gruelling 15 hour cycle to Cambridge. He will be cycling back to North Wales the following Sunday to complete his epic 400 mile round-trip.

Dr Abelian is raising money for the Awyr Las North Wales Child Health Research Fund, which is being set up with colleagues from Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

He explains why this cause is so close to his heart: "Over the last few years, I have been part of a cutting-edge research project with the world-renowned MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge to improve the diagnosis of meningitis in newborn babies. This was generously funded in part through Awyr Las, the North Wales NHS Charity.

I wanted to do something to acknowledge this support, and to fundraise towards the new Awyr Las Fund which will support further high quality child health research here in North Wales.

"The bike ride is also in memory of Dr Paul Dear, who was a friend and a key figure in establishing the meningitis research programme. Tragically, Paul passed away last year before he could complete his pioneering research."

He added: "A lot of child health research in Wales is done in South Wales, but there is a real opportunity to do more research and development that focusses specifically on North Wales.

"By understanding more about illnesses that affect infants and children here, we can ultimately improve early diagnosis and treatment. This clearly brings direct benefit to children and families across the region."

Dr Abelian is well on his way to reaching his £4,000 target, and is hoping this will kick start further fundraising:

"I have been working at Wrexham Maelor Hospital for well over 10 years. I have seen for myself that public involvement is the key to improving health outcomes and I am proud of the strong sense of connection our communities in North Wales have with our NHS.

I'm massively grateful to everyone who's donated to date, from my neighbours to a Nobel Prize winning scientist, and to Awyr Las, the North Wales NHS Charity, for supporting our Child Health Research Fund. It's very exciting to think that, with continued donations and support, we can deliver more cutting-edge programmes to benefit patients here in North Wales.

Looking ahead to the start of his challenge, he said: "I've been cycling a lot since the start of the pandemic and have put in hundreds of hours of training, so I'm confident that my fitness is as good as it ever could be.

"Having said that, this ultra-long bicycle ride from Wrexham to Cambridge and back will be some test of physical and mental endurance. But it's a challenge I'm very happy to face!"

To donate, go to Dr Abelian's JustGiving page, where you can also follow his updates:

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