The teenage cycling challenge is raising money for Sheffield Hospital

Image source, Charity Sheffield Children’s Hospital

Image caption, Layton convinced a company to make custom popsicles for best friend Daisy and other children who had undergone chemotherapy

  • Author, Oli Constable
  • Role, BBC news

A 14-year-old boy plans to cycle 540 kilometers to Amsterdam to raise money in memory of his best friend who died of cancer.

Layton, from Retford, wanted to raise money for Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity, which helped care for his girlfriend Daisy.

The ride from London to the capital of the Netherlands starts on Wednesday and lasts four days and passes through four countries.

“Every time I ride my bike I think about how heavy she was and the difficult moments she had,” he said.

Layton said Daisy was his “best friend” and that she was diagnosed with cancer in elementary school in 2021.

“I just couldn’t believe it when she was diagnosed,” he said.

Daisy’s tumor spread from her kidney and despite recovering from the cancer three times, she died just before Christmas in 2023.

“It was horrible. I told her I would always be there for her. She was a fighter,” Layton said.

Daisy was cared for at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, with Layton continually raising money to support the charity.

His latest challenge, in the form of the massive bike ride, would be done in her honor, he said.

Image source, Charity Sheffield Children’s Hospital

Image caption, The 14-year training for the bike ride to Amsterdam was intensive and lasted three months

However, Layton said that because he was the only child taking on the challenge on Wednesday, he needed an adult to accompany him, which led to his mother also training for the ride.

“I had to get one of my parents involved, and I couldn’t see my dad doing it, so I had to ask my mom. She had no choice,” he said.

Layton added that he was looking forward to getting on the bike and taking on the challenge in memory of his best friend.

“Daisy always had a smile on her face, was always happy and never showed anything other than happiness,” he said.