Spurred on by the devastation of losing loved ones to dementia, three girls will be cycling across America to raise money and awareness of the condition.
Kirsty Loveridge, 21, from St David’s Road, Southsea, Katie Stephenson, 24, of Cleveland Road, Southsea, and Amy Hawkins, 25, of Trevor Road, Southsea, will be raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Kirsty said: ‘It is a cause very close to our hearts.
‘My grandad is 74 and I’ve seen first-hand how dementia has affected him.
‘He’s at the stage where he knows he is forgetting things, but can’t help it.
‘He used to be able to drive and was quite independent, but he can’t be like that any more.
‘My other friends have also been affected by family members suffering from dementia.’
In July the trio will be cycling 3,000 miles and have called the journey ‘miles for memories.’
Their adventure will see them cycle through 15 states finishing in California towards the end of September.
The idea came from Katie and Amy, who have both graduated from Portsmouth University, where all three girls met.
Katie said: ‘Amy and I have always been keen cyclists and after graduating decided we wanted to go travelling.
‘Then one day we thought about combining the two together and thought “why not?”
‘We asked Kirsty if she wanted to come as well, she agreed and we also decided to raise money for charity.’
The trio have given themselves two months to complete the challenge, but hope to finish in six weeks.’
Kirsty said: ‘We are cycling unsupported in the sweltering summer heat.
‘I’m so excited but at the same time I know it’s going to absolutely push me to my limits.’
The friends have already held various smaller fundraisers, including selling doughnuts and holding a live music and raffle night.
They have also been gearing up for their epic journey by cycling across the Isle of Wight.
Altogether £700 has been raised and the girls still have a few fundraising events left up their sleeves, including a pier cycle and a quiz night, to get to £15,000.
Katie added: ‘We are looking at getting touring bikes that are sufficient to hold all of our equipment, but are also lightweight.’
To keep track of their journey, visit milesformemories.wordpress.com.
If you would like to donate some money to the cause, then all you have to do is visit justgiving.com/milesformemories.