Around 500 bikers helped a terminally ill mum fulfil a bucket list dream of a pillion ride on a Harley Davidson this weekend.
Vicki Stevens, 42, from Waltham Abbey was diagnosed with triple breast cancer in October 2014 and while initially given the all clear, things took a devastating turn for the worse two years on.
She was diagnosed with secondary cancer which spread to her brain, lung and spine, leaving her unsure how long she has left to live.
Since her diagnosis, the mum to four-year-old Samuel and 11-year-old Jacob, created a bucket list of things she would like to do – which included a pillion passenger ride on a Harley Davidson for her and 15 friends.
And thanks to kind hearted strangers Mike Grove, from Harlow, and Paul Middleton from Bishop’s Stortford, the dream became a reality this weekend.
On Sunday (May 13) roughly 300 bikers met at a diner just off of junction 26 of the M25, which had been opened especially for the day by Dave Cordell, ahead of the bikers heading to Vicki’s home in Winters Way.
“We all waited outside and they turned up. You could hear them before they saw them,” said Vicki.
“It was so emotional. My neighbours were out and people I don’t know came to watch.
“It was very emotional and it was a spectacular site to see.”
Vicki was first diagnosed with breast cancer after discovering a lump back in October 2014.
“I had it checked out and found that I had triple breast cancer,” Vicki said.
“It’s one they don’t know much about and the most likely one you are to die from.”
While the mum of two was later given the all clear, her cancer returned two years on.
“I was getting horrendous headaches and I just knew that it had come back,” she said.
She was then diagnosed with secondary cancer which has since spread to her brain, lung and spine.
In June last year Vicki was given just two months to live.
“I was gutted but stayed positive and started to fight,” she continued.
“There was no way I was letting cancer ruin my life and that of my family.”
Vicki continues to receive both radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Her details have been sent to St Bartholomew’s Hospital, also known as Barts, to see if any trials are going on that may be able to help her.
She said: “I don’t know how long I have got to live.
“Everyone is different and every cancer is different.”
Vicki has experienced some side effects from her treatment – in particular exhaustion.
Yet she is determined to continue living life to the full.
“I feel fine – that’s why I cannot get my head around it,” she added.
“That’s why I want to do as much as I can and I am trying to be as normal as I possibly can for the boys.”
Essex Police escorted the bikers, whose bikes were sporting pink ribbons, via a scenic route before closing the M25 as the bikers headed for the Harley Davidson dealership at Lakeside.
Vicki, who is married to Carl, had wondered why there was so little traffic on the motorway before being told “they have shut the M25 for you”.
One of the organisers, Paul Middleton, described the work of the police as “sensational”.
“They shut the M25, the professionalism and the skill of the drivers was incredible – to get from the back of the queue to the front to close each junction,” said the 39 year-old.
“The way they dealt with the bikers and how they treated everyone, it could not have been better. It made the day.
“We’ve been saying Queen Victoria stopped the M25.”
Upon their arrival at Lakeside, a further 200 bikers are believed to have made their way to the dealership – meaning around 500 in total had turned out.
Bikers from Manchester and Kent joined the ride, as well as another who had left his home at 4.30am to take part.
Vicki was greeted at Lakeside with a warm welcome before crowds were treated to both dance performances and live music.
Mr Middleton returned home last night to find 70 notifications on his phone, all of congratulations and support.
He said that the overwhelming support had left him in tears.
A special thank you
Mike and Paul would like to say a special thank you to the following people:
"Michelle and John Brede for all their help in organising.
"Dave Cordell and all the staff at Junction 26 Diner for not only opening the diner, but for donating all the money taken from the day to Vicki, including all the staff working for free on their day off.
"Heather, Derren and all the team at Lakeside Harley Davidson who organised an amazing reception and event at the dealership when we arrived.
"Essex Police PCs and Specials who were incredible on the day, keeping us all safe and organised. It was not only their skill and professionalism on the day but their attitude and manner to all the bikers and people on the day. They were first class and an absolute credit to their force.
"Brad Luff for providing the music/entertainment on the day. You were brilliant.
"Michelle Hawkes and all the girls at Streetz Ahead Dance Academy for an amazing dance show.
"Charles Whiteway for being the camera man’s bike on the day.
"Our wives Emma Middleton and Nikki Grove for being the emergency bits car and carrying the spare jackets, helmets and gloves around for the ladies."
Vicki described the bikers as her “heroes” and said that the day will be something she will always remember.
“There are no words. They are my heroes and I’ve told them that,” she continued.
“They have made my dreams come true and I will remember it for the rest of my life.
“It was just perfect in every way.”
Since Vicki found out about the ride out in March her cancer has progressed and she is awaiting results from an MRI scan on her brain.
However she is determined to live life to the full by using her bucket list to have as many new experiences as possible with her family and friends.
Yesterday the bikers presented Vicki with tickets for two more of her bucket wish dreams – a hot air balloon ride and a trip to Paris.