Please forgive the non-prancing nature of this particular post – it’s a bit of a personal/family life update (with some challenge/adventure thrown in).

2022 has certainly been a rollercoaster so far. Anaaya is now 11 months old and is amazing and doing amazingly well. She’s now into commando-crawling (not quite proper crawling), clapping, rotating through every facial expression she can in under 10 seconds, never letting go of her toy rubber hammer, and grabbing for anything that looks like a wire. We’ve also bought a baby backpack for her that she just loves being carried around in like elevated royalty purveying her queendom. It seem crazy to rewind four months to see that things were very different – we didn’t mention it at the time but Anaaya was in hospital with bacterial Meningitis (the v.dangrous kind) for two weeks. Up to that point she hadn’t had any real ailments and although we knew kids with Down Syndrome were likely to be more susceptible to infection, for Anaaya this reared its head in a pretty terrifying way. Her strain/case was so rare (under 10 people per year get it) that it was dealt with directly by Public Health England. The good news is that so far she thankfully hasn’t shown any long term symptoms and is busy growing into a bolshy, head-strong little girl. As with every child, Anaaya’s abilities, difficulties, habits, likes and loves are a bit like a personalised, individual jigsaw that reveals itself piece by piece over time and certainly every child with Down Syndrome builds their own puzzle unique to them and each is very different.

Anaaya in hospital

I’ve wanted to do my bit to help the community of children, adults, parents, carers and families living alongside Down Syndrome across the world and so when last week Trishna found out that Down Syndrome International were still looking for people to take part in the RideLondon100 on 29th May – as the name suggests a 100-mile cycle race around London and Essex – I took the last-minute plunge and signed up. Since then I’ve been waking up in cold sweats as the reality dawns how tough this challenge will be and how far I’ve let things slide since my USA dance in 2018. I’ve put on 7 kilos since Anaaya was born due to the combination of new parent fatigue and having almost zero free time, haven’t cycled 100 miles in a day since 2014, and frighteningly will have to complete the distance within the cut-off point of 8 hours. That’s probably doable if I was tackling it on a racing bike but I sold that last year and only have my 16kg touring bike to complete it on. Plus for my sins I’ve said I’ll start and finish the race pulling Anaaya along in our bike chariot (and have to cycle the whole thing with the chariot itself) which triples the weight to something more like 45kg. We’ve tested her out in it a few times and she seems to love it and, unlike me, is more than ready for the adventure!

Anaaya in her very special chariot

So basically it’d be amazing if you could sponsor me to attempt to get to the finish line and be able to cycle proudly over Tower Bridge with Anaaya by my side. It takes place just one week today so I’ve been busy over the last three weeks pounding my pedals in an attempt to be fit enought to make it back into London to be joined by Anaaya at the end. To get a place at the last minute I said I’d raise a minimum of £1000 (gulp!) so anything you can give to help get Anaaya and I there would be brilliant and help families like ours support wonderful kids like her to flourish in the world. Thank you!   The sponsorship link is

Ben & Trishna say ‘please sponsor us’ with a smile.   Anaaya says ‘I’m not smiling, this is serious: sponsor us or else…!!!!’ 🙂