Monster hills and gentle slopes: Lisa’s cycle of life for Samaritans in the Prudential RideLondon

All 112 riders pedalling for Samaritans in this year’s Prudential RideLondon race on Sunday 2 August are in for an exhilarating challenge, but one woman in particular is facing the cycle of her life.

Having first experienced depression as a teenager, Lisa Rodrigues CBE from Brighton in Sussex will be covering the 100 miles just a few days before her 60th birthday, aiming to highlight how valuable Samaritans’ round the clock services are for people struggling to cope.

“I learned about Samaritans when I was 15, the same year I saw my first psychiatrist, and I’ve called a few times. But it’s only recently that I’ve felt able to talk openly about my experiences of depression. It can leave you feeling overwhelmed with emptiness and self-loathing, and thinking the unthinkable. Yet it can be hard to ask for help because suicidal feelings are still considered shameful.”

In her professional life, first as a nurse and later the Chief Executive of an NHS mental health trust, Lisa also saw the need for Samaritans to be there every single day of the year, for anyone needing support.

“Samaritans’ volunteers will let you talk, and they won’t judge. People can feel trapped after experiencing personal loss, financial hardship, illness or loneliness. A kind voice on the end of the phone can make all the difference to the choices a person makes.”

Lisa’s always loved to cycle but the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 will be her longest ride yet.  She says she’s expecting ‘monster hills’ and ‘gentle slopes’ – a bit like life!

“When I get on my bike I feel free and full of life. Cycling is good for my mental health. I’ve never ridden 100 miles before but I’ve trained and I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Even if I’m the last of the 25,000 riders to arrive on The Mall, I’ll be happy that I’ve done my best for Samaritans.”

Samaritans relies almost entirely on voluntary donations. The money raised by its riders in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 event will help the charity to be there for anyone who needs to talk, in confidence, about anything that’s bothering them - by phone, email, text, letter, or face to face in one of its 201 branches across the UK and Ireland.

Samaritans’ Events Fundraiser, Emma Burgess, said, “We wish Lisa and all our cyclists the best of luck and will be cheering them on through London and Surrey, right to the spectacular finish on The Mall. We’re extremely grateful for their support – they are helping to ensure that our services are always there for people. Offering a safe space for people to work through their problems saves lives.”  

Samaritans has hundreds of cyclists, runners and swimmers taking on challenges across the UK. For more information or to get involved, please visit www.samaritans.org.

Help Lisa achieve her fundraising target by sponsoring her www.justgiving.com/LisaRodrigues2015/

 

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For more information about Samaritans’ riders in the Prudential RideLondon event, or the work of Samaritans, please contact the Press Office on 020 8394 8300 or email press@samaritans.org

Photos of Lisa Rodrigues x 3 - for all uses – are available and attached.

Notes to editors:

  • Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. We provide a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. Please call 08457 90 90 90 (UK), (calls will cost 2p per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge), 116 123 (ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of the nearest branch.
  • Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 sees an expected 25,000 cyclists of all abilities riding through the roads of London and Surrey. Check out the map below to view the route (shown in red). The blue sections on the map show additional loops that the professional riders will make in the Prudential RideLondon – Surrey Classic race here.