Riders on crucial cancer mission stop in at Laidley
WITH their gruelling 1200km trek on bike from Sydney to Brisbane almost at an end, riders could be forgiven for feeling sorry for themselves as their muscles cried out for relief during a short pit-stop in Laidley on October 19.
But spirits were high as they prepared for the home stretch, their sights set on reaching their final destination at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital the following day.
Those involved in the 2017 1200km for Kids Charity Bike Ride pedalled over several days to raise vital funds for the Children's Hospital Foundation, the official charity of Lady Cilento, and the Humpty Dumpty Foundation, which buys essential equipment for hospitals across the country.
It was started in 2005 by two friends - Trev Bale and Gary Richardson - who both had children in hospital and wanted to find a way to give back to the people who work tirelessly to help sick kids.
During the course of the past 12 years they have raised more than $1.4 million with the 2017 ride adding around $120,000 to the cause.
Leo Whiteley, of Brisbane, who has been involved in the ride for the past six years, said stopping to visit hospitals along the way was a powerful experience.
"We get to see the equipment that we bought (in previous years) and learn about the equipment we're buying them next year,” Mr Whiteley said.
"The grass roots and tangible nature of the ride was what really grabbed me.
"To visit visit a hospital and see a $4000 piece of equipment... and the nurses were in tears because of the lives that they could save or better treat because of it, that kind of grabbed me.”
One person who is especially appreciative of the money raised from the ride each year is Lady Cilento Children's Hospital paediatric oncologist Dr Andrew Moore, who was also pulling on the lycra for the fifth time.
He also serves as the director of the Queensland Children's Tumour Bank, which collects, stores and processes excess tumour material, with the information gathered shared with research groups across the world.
"Collectively we probably cure about 75 per cent of children with cancer, how we achieve that cure is what needs a lot work, we have a heavy reliance on pretty old fashioned conventional chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery,” Dr Moore said.
"For the patients that are cured and do really well, it still leaves a number of those patients with significant short term and long term side affects and toxicities.
"Then of course there are about a quarter of our patients that we don't cure... childhood cancer is the biggest cause of death in children by disease in Australia and that's something we really need to do something about.”
He said it was great to be able to turn the pedals and help the support the people who support doctors and researchers like himself.
"They're raising the money that ultimately allows us to do the work that we do and without the fundraising it all just literally grinds to a halt,” he said.