Published On: 13/01/20222.5 min read

Earlier this year, we were lucky enough to be introduced to the epic team behind the Bristol2Beijing challenge. In 2020, 24-year-old Luke Grenfell-Shaw, who is living with stage 4 cancer, set off on an ambitious bike ride (mid-pandemic no less!) from Bristol to Beijing. He’s currently just over halfway and Storm has been pulling out all the stops with pro bono PR support to spread the word and help generate charity donations.

In 2018, Bristolian Luke was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive sarcoma. The next year saw him undergo chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy, and during his first round of chemotherapy, his 25-year-old brother, John, tragically fell to his death in the Lake District. Luke’s inspirational story has seen him turn phenomenal adversity into a zest and vigour for life and living to the fullest with cancer, first completing the Bristol Half Marathon in 2018, graduating with a Masters from Oxford University while on chemotherapy, and travelling the world. 

On 1st January 2020, he set out to complete his dream to cycle from Bristol to Beijing on a tandem. The idea was to complete the journey, joined by other CanLivers (a moniker, coined by Luke, for people living rich and full lives with cancer), friends and individuals from the countries he travels through, all the while rewriting the narrative of what is possible with a cancer diagnosis. The journey from the UK to China covers 30,000 kilometres and 30 countries, taking on the challenges of cross continental travel during COVID times, with the ambition of raising £300,000 for cancer-related charities.

Storm worked closely with the team to understand the next stops on Luke’s journey and provide strategic consultancy on elements of the journey that could work well to generate peaks of media coverage. The first of these was Luke hitting the halfway mark in his journey in Kazakhstan, having completed the first three legs of the expedition, travelling through Europe and into southwestern Asia. 

The story achieved two high profile hits, the first a 10-minute interview with Luke on BBC London’s Gaby Roslin Show, which as well as reaching the shows 400k listeners saw Gaby retweet Luke to her 50k followers. The same week, another interview with Luke was placed on BBC2’s The Victoria Derbyshire Show, which has 10 million viewers. 

Later in the year, we were also able to secure a high-profile Instagram Story Series from HRH Princess Eugenie. Giving the challenge a shout out to her 1.5m followers, the Bristol2Beijing Instagram enjoyed an influx of over 2,000 new followers in one day alone. 

As Luke continues his journey, having just crossed the border into India and the first tourist to do so at the Wagah-Attari land border for 18 months, he goes from strength to strength and we’re working closely with his team on the ground to help create further exposure for challenge. 

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