TR Press UK - 02-07-2018

It is overwhelming that so many people are cycling for children like my son

Åse Malmstrøm knows something about the difference made by the money that Team Rynkeby – God Morgon raises in Sweden. Her six-year-old son, Ian, is currently receiving the last part of his cancer treatment.

Stage 2, Verden: As the cyclists on Team Rynkeby – God Morgon Lund are leaving the old highway inn in Verden where they have spent the night along with two other Team Rynkeby teams, Åse Malmstrøm has the chance to sit down before moving on to the day’s next assignments.

She is part of the service team for the Swedish charity cycling team, which is currently moving down through Europe to Paris for the benefit of children with critical illnesses.

Åse Malmstrøm was actually supposed to have been cycling along with the yellow-clad team members, but shortly before the trip she came to realise that she had not trained sufficiently to reasonably handle the daily stages of up to 200 km.

Two years ago, her four-year-old son, Ian, was diagnosed with cancer, and the long days at the University Hospital in Lund have been difficult to reconcile with the task of cycling her way into the shape necessary to cope with 1,300 km by bicycle.

She has therefore become part of the 450-person service team that caters for the 48 Team Rynkeby teams along the way.

It is overwhelming
She sits down on one of the café chairs in front of the inn.

The blue and cloudless skies in Northern Germany stand in stark contrast to the dark and bitterly cold February day in Lund a year and a half ago when she met Team Rynkeby – God Morgon for the first time.

“It was in connection with the International Children’s Cancer Day. We were in the hospital with Ian, and outside Team Rynkeby had set up a lot of candles. So we went outside to find out what it was. And our team captain Christian Nilsson came over and spoke with Ian with a big Rynke monkey. It was dark and cold, and here was Team Rynkeby with everyone so happy and enjoying themselves. I wanted to be a part of that, says Åse Malmstrøm, who after becoming a part of Team Rynkeby – God Morgon Lund has only become even more impressed by the people she has met.

“As a mother of a son with cancer, I can understand my getting involved with a project like this and spending so much time on it to help seriously ill children. But everyone else – they do it just because they can. It is overwhelming. “It’s very touching,” she says.

We cried a lot
Ian was four years old when, one night, he woke up with severe pain in his legs.

It was in February 2016, and Åse and her husband Marcus took Ian to the doctor. But there they were told that the problem was just growing pains, and the family was sent back home.

But the pain continued.

“Time passed, and some nights he woke up with violent pain in the ribs, and other nights it was with back pains. I was convinced that it was something other than growing pains and nightmares, as the doctors said it was,” she says.

One morning in June, Ian woke up and was completely stiff in the neck.

“I immediately contacted a specialist in the town we live in and he took some tests. Nothing was immediately apparent, but the specialist said that we should come back in a few weeks, and then we could take a few more tests.

It was the Friday when Ian’s sister Ebba, who today is 11 years old, began her summer school vacation.

On Saturday, the doctor’s office rang to say that his tests were not good and that we had to go there immediately. When we arrived, they had already made a room ready for us, and Ian had to undergo several tests. The following day – on Sunday – the doctor came in and said that Ian was most likely to have leukaemia,” Åse says.

Many side effects
On Monday he was already having an operation including a bone marrow test and implanting a medication port so he was ready for chemo – the first of which he was given later that day. Ian had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

“When they first discovered the cancer, things moved very fast,” she says.

And the family began a very difficult time.

“First, our daughter was most upset that she had to spend the summer at the hospital. Then the seriousness of the situation gradually dawned on us all, and we just cried a lot. It was a very strange time. When I think back, I can’t remember what I did during those days,” says Åse.

Ian received chemo, and while his hair was coming out in huge tufts, he was hit by almost all the side effects that one can think of. It meant, among other things, that he could not eat anything, so for a good six months he was fed through intubation.

“In the midst of everything, doctors found that a blood clot was forming, so he also needed blood-thinning medications,” says Åse Malmstrøm.

A ruptured pancreas
In February 2017, Ian had to be readmitted to hospital because his belly was extremely swollen. The doctors tapped 1.6 litres of fluid that had accumulated in his body because his pancreas had ruptured.

One side effect of chemotherapy is that children develop pancreatic cysts – and because there were so many cysts in the same place in Ian’s pancreas, they had caused it to rupture.

“I think that he is the only child in the world who has experienced it,” smiles Åse in spite of the situation’s seriousness.

A happy boy
Today Ian is undergoing the last part of his treatment, which hopefully will end before Christmas.

“He is a happy six-year-old boy who will start first grade after the summer break,” says Åse and looks up.

“A happy boy with a story to tell.

After Saturday he can also say that he has greeted his mother in Paris together with Europe’s largest charity cycling team. On Wednesday, Ian, Ebba and Marcus will join a number of other family members heading to Paris to meet the Team Rynkeby field in the French capital on Saturday.



This story has been translated into English by Semantix Translations Denmark A/S.

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