Sue Ryder Supporter’s 500km Desert Cycle Ride

42-year-old entrepreneur and Dubai resident, Ray Chan, has completed an epic challenge to raise vital funds for Sue Ryder, cycling 500 kilometres in six days along desert cycle tracks.

Ray has so far raised more than £1800 for Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, who cared for his mum in her final days.

Ray grew up in the Horsforth area of Leeds and moved to Dubai after taking his global events company there in 2013.

Ray: “In January 2023, the news came that my mum wasn’t well, so I dropped everything and travelled back to the UK to look after her. Mum spent her last few days in Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice. It was the first time I fully understood what a hospice does – I didn’t really know what to expect. It’s a lovely place. The staff were really kind and attentive, and respectful. 

Mum died on 12th November and the funeral was held soon afterwards. I didn’t really have time to grieve properly. When I arrived back in Dubai in December, I looked a mess. I’ve always followed a very fit and healthy lifestyle………..I felt like I needed to reset my mind and body for the new year – and doing this challenge and remembering Mum in the process seemed like the perfect way to do it.”

Ray decided to embark on cycling brand Rapha’s Festive 500 challenge, where cycling enthusiasts from around the world ride 500km in eight days, between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Ray: “I made my first day the hardest day. I did 135km on cycle tracks through the desert, setting out at 5.30am. You have to get out early and stay hydrated. It was tough. Especially the last 15km – I was broken.

All in all, I think it took me 30 hours on the bike over six days to complete the 500km distance.

I felt amazing afterwards. It was a nice way to finish the year and flush out all the demons. Doing the challenge gave me time to reflect and process the trauma and stress of the past few months.”

Ray reflected on how his mum would have reacted to his fundraising challenge. “She’d have laughed and called me crazy for cycling all that way in the desert under the sun. She’d probably ask if I was wearing suntan lotion! But I’m sure she’d be very proud.”

Sport and fitness is a narrative that runs through my life. I wouldn’t rule out doing the challenge for Sue Ryder again. Life’s all about taking yourself out of your comfort zone.”

Clare Humphreys, Community Fundraiser at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice: “We’re so grateful to Ray for taking on this epic challenge and for raising such an impressive amount. The money raised will ensure that we can keep providing vital and compassionate care to those who need it.”

For more information about Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, visit:

To find out more about fundraising for Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, including joining or setting up a fundraising group contact [email protected]

You can support Ray by making a donation here on his online JustGiving page.

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