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TR Press UK - 30-06-2019
Team Rynkeby became Arild’s therapy when he lost his 6-year-old son to cancer
Arild Østbø lost his 6-year-old son to cancer in 2012. Shortly afterward, he became involved in establishing Team Rynkeby in Norway. It became his way of dealing with his sorrow.
Stage 1, Maribo: The morning sun shines from a clear blue sky. The time is just past 7:30, and outside Hotel Søpark in Maribo is Team Rynkeby – God Morgon Rogaland’s team captain Arild Østbø, about to give his team the final instructions before they depart for the day.
He speaks with a calm voice as he explains that the team will board a ferry to Germany in about 20 km. It’s plain to see that he’s done this before.
The Rogaland captain was instrumental in starting up Team Rynkeby – God Morgon in Norway in 2013, and he took part in the very first Tour de Paris in 2014.
With six trips to Paris, he is therefore the most experienced cyclist in the Norwegian teams.
And that which Arild Østbø has helped build in Norway hasn’t only had incredible significance for the Norwegian Children’s Cancer Association, it’s also been incredibly significant for him personally.
He joined the project shortly after he lost his middle child, 6-year-old Andreas, to cancer.
“In many ways, the team has been my own self-prescribed therapy. When you lose a child you feel totally powerless. But with Team Rynkeby – God Morgon I now feel as though I can make a difference for other families. Our goal is that no parent should have to lose a child to cancer,” he says.
Happiness was short-lived
Andreas was three and a half years old when he became ill.
“We thought it was constipation so we took him to the doctor. But it turned out that he had a kind of tumour called a neuroblastoma,” says Arild Østbø.
Andreas quickly went into treatment in Bergen, a four-and-a-half hour drive from the family’s home. It meant that Arild and his wife and Andreas’ two siblings had to move to Bergen, where they lived for much of the time Andreas was in treatment.
After 16 months of treatment that included cytostatic medicine, operations and radiation, the family was informed that Andreas was cancer-free.
But their happiness was short-lived.
“Just a week later, the hospital let us know that something wasn’t as it should be,” says Arild Østbo.
“We were offered treatment options in Lund, including a bone marrow transplant. And we were given the opportunity to travel to New York for treatment, paid for by the Norwegian state. But neuroblastoma is a sneaky disease,” he continues.
Andreas’ condition continued to worsen, and suddenly he became so ill that there was only the possibility of life-prolonging treatment.
Andreas passed away in 2012 between Christmas and New Year’s – just before his sixth birthday.
From 27 to 245 riders
Months passed in which Arild and his family lived in a kind of state of emergency. But then Arild heard about Team Rynkeby – God Morgon.
“I knew that Team Rynkeby wanted to establish a team in Norway, and it became a possibility for me. Everything was new and unknown, but we recruited 27 riders the first year and raised NOK 954,000 for the Norwegian Children’s Cancer Association. Today we have 245 riders and last year we raised nearly NOK 10 million. It shows that what we do matters,” says Arild Østbø.
Below you can see an interview with Arild Østbø for Team Rynkeby’s Tour News LIVE, which was streamed LIVE on Facebook this morning.
This story was translated from Danish to English by AdHoc Translations.
Foto: Laycock Media.