FRIENDS of Scarborough 28-year-old Sam Rhodes are now well over halfway in their quest to raise £20,000 for what they hope will be a life-changing operation.
Sam, who has been diagnosed with prolapsed cervical discs, has been in constant pain for two years and his condition is deteriorating.
The fund for the operation was boosted by £2,500 by a sponsored fancy dress bike ride at the weekend.
It brings the running total raised for Sam’s operation to more than £10,000.
Ten riders cycled from Scarborough to Whitby and back, along the old railway line, in the latest fundraising event.
Rider Phil Clothier said: “The ride went very well. Loads of people are getting involved with the fundraising.
“I did the ride in nine hours but some people made it in seven.”
The group’s gruelling journey started at Sainsbury’s Park and they finished their trip at Scarborough Rugby Club.
A series of other money-making activities, including gigs, parachute jumps and bungee jumps, are planned in the coming weeks.
A Facebook group has been set up to discuss fundraising ideas, as has an eBay shop, where items can be donated or purchased to raise money.
Musical equipment, exercise gear and clothing were among the 37 items on sale yesterday.
NHS surgeons in Sheffield, where Sam was a student, refused to operate on his neck and proscribed him cocktails of painkilling drugs which he says are causing other health problems.
However, he visited a private orthopaedic surgeon who is prepared to operate in a bid to give Sam his life back at a cost of £20,000.
Sam, of Maple Drive, said: “It’s absolutely amazing how everyone is being so generous.
“I can’t work because of my disability, so I couldn’t see how I could raise such a huge sum of money.
“It was like a catch 22 – I can’t work because I’m in pain, so I couldn’t afford the operation, so I couldn’t get better to earn the money to have the operation that would let me get back to normal life. I just hope that the operation will leave me in less pain and able to get back to work and to my PhD, and back to being the bloke my friends and family all knew before this problem started.”