Loving father rides to keep memory of wife alive
TOM Philp's wife fit more into her short 33 years than the majority of those who live to a ripe old age.
The Brisbane resident was in the South Burnett this week with his son, Sam 20, for the annual Lion's Fun Ride raising much needed funds for the Children Cancer Institute.
Mr Philp has been involved in the annual week long ride since Sam was only six.
The Children's Cancer Institute is an organisation close to Mr Philp's heart, as his late wife, Donna was diagnosed with childhood cancer when she was 13.
"She ended up getting her leg amputated above the knee to fight the cancer,” he said.
"She did all the radium and chemotherapy, which back in the early 80s was an extremely harrowing experience.”
Mr Philp's wife did chemotherapy for 18 months.
She survived the cancer and went on to represent Australia in the Paralympics.
"She won gold and silver medals in javelin and shot put in Seoul and Barcelona,” he said.
After the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, Donna retired from the throwing sports and went on to play in the Australian women's basketball team in Atlanta in 1996.
"They just missed out, they got 4th,” Mr Philp said.
Mr Philp's life was turned upside down when Donna had a sudden heart attack at training, only ten months after giving birth to their son, Sam.
She was only 33.
"It probably goes back to the chemo she had as a youngster,” Mr Philp said.
The pair had only been married for four years.
Their son Sam is now 20, but the brave and loving father remembers having to survive with a ten-month-old baby.
"I was lucky in a way that I had him because it kept me occupied,” Mr Philp said.
Brisbane residents, Tom and Sam are in the South Burnett this week for the Lions Fun Ride with a large group of cyclists from all over the country.
"We do the ride to recognise the stories Donna told about chemotherapy in those days,” he said.
"It makes you want to do something so kids these days don't have to go through the same thing.”
"It means the kids these days are not going to turn around in their 30 or 40s and suffer the same way Donna did.”