Paramedic cycles 150 miles for terminally-ill colleague

Andy Hughes was diagnosed with stage-four brain tumor in July 2021. Having worked for London Ambulance Service (LAS) for over 20 years, he had to retire due to ill-health.

On hearing of Andy’s tragic news, his colleague Rob Lewis, an LAS EMT of eight years wanted to make a difference for Andy and help him make some precious memories with his family. Rob decided to cycle from London to Cardiff to raise funds for Andy in doing so.

The two ambulance colleagues did not know each other on a personal level before the ride, but Rob said that learning about his colleague’s tragic news resonated with him and motivated him to make contact with Andy via a mutual friend. It was then that Rob decided to cycle to the Welsh capital in a challenge that attracted more than 50 donations, raising over £1000.00.

LAS Medic Rob Lewis outside Cardiff Ambulance Station. Pic: London Ambulance Service

Rob said: “Hearing that an LAS colleague in his forties, who has a lovely family, might not be able to enjoy life with them for much longer inspired me to dedicate my efforts to him.”

Sports-enthusiast Rob, who only recently turned 61, completed the London-Cardiff cycle as part of his ‘six for sixties’ challenge – a string of tough, fitness challenges that he intends to accomplish throughout his sixties.

Rob remarked: “originally, cycling 150 miles was meant to be a fun, fitness exercise, but I knew if I could fundraise for Andy that could mean more memorable experiences with his family.”

As well as the cycle to Wales, Rob has so far run a triathlon and rowed the length of the Channel on his rowing machine. A smaller part of the proceeds for these challenges have gone to the London Ambulance Service Charity, an arm of the organisation which raises funds to provide LAS patients and staff with additional facilities and initiatives.

Rob said: “I got involved with several initiatives run by the LAS Charity before and I wanted to continue to support the important work they do.

“Fundraising for them can improve our wellbeing and the care we deliver to our patients, so I encourage anyone who has this cause close to their heart to get involved.”

LAS Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles and Head of Charity Jessica Burgess met Rob in a heart-warming thank-you event last month, when Rob also handed in the £340 cheque to London Ambulance Service Charitable Fund.

EMT Rob Lewis with LAS Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles. Pic: London Ambulance Service

Daniel Elkeles, CEO at London Ambulance Service, said: “Frontline staff are known for being extremely kind and compassionate people, but what Rob has done for his colleague is an example when kindness goes beyond the call of duty.

“I am so grateful for the donation to our charity and for his support to an LAS colleague, who has so sadly and unfairly been fighting a horrible disease. This is what team spirit really means!

“We send Andy and his family our warmest wishes and hope that Rob’s donation can help them build some special memories.”