NEXT month 15 cyclists will make the epic 600km ride from Perth to Augusta to raise money for the Children’s Leukaemia and Cancer Research Foundation.
The annual charity ride has been going for 18 years and organisers hope this year’s South West Bike Trek will raise $40,000.
Eric Maddock, 71, has been a passionate supporter of the event for the past 12 years, after his great-niece, Jade, was diagnosed with leukaemia aged four.
Now 17 and in remission, Mr Maddock said the treatment and support she received left him with an overwhelming sense of wanting to “pay it back”.
“The doctors did so much to help Jade and it is so wonderful to see her loving life now,” he said. “Originally childhood cancer research focussed on treatment and survival rate but now it also focuses on treating the individual and the type of cancer they have.
“That means the side effects of the treatment are less and they have a lot better quality of life.”
Australia has one of the highest incidences of childhood cancer worldwide, with 600 children diagnosed every year.
The Children’s Leukaemia & Cancer Research Foundation has been raising funds for more than 40 years, so ground-breaking research into childhood cancer can continue and future generations can live cancer free.
The South West Bike Trek is the biggest volunteer-run fundraising event for childhood cancer in WA and since it started in 2002 it has raised close to $700,000.
Rather than a race, the trek is conducted at a leisurely pace with riders encouraged to work together to ensure each other’s wellbeing.
Mr Maddock, a South West Bike Trek co-ordinator, said while 2020 had been a challenging year for everyone, he was delighted the event would still take place.
“We were so worried we wouldn’t be able to hold the ride this year because of covid-19, but when the restrictions started to ease, I was getting so many calls from riders wanting to take part,” he said.
“We have had to restrict the numbers this year, but I am just so happy it’s going ahead as it’s such a hugely important fundraiser for children’s cancer research.
“We’ve been told to ‘wander out yonder’ so now there’s even more of an excuse to get out there and explore the South West region while raising money for child cancer research.”
Unfortunately covid-19 has impacted riders ability to fundraise, so organisers are encouraging the public to “Adopt a rider” and for schools to hold gold coin donations.
The ride begins on October 11 from Sir James Mitchell Park and finishes in Augusta on October 17.
To find out more and “adopt a rider” go to swbiketrek.com.au
The 2020 South West Bike Trek schedule:
• Day 1 Sunday October 11 – South Perth to Fairbridge
• Day 2 Monday October 12 – Fairbridge to Preston return
• Day 3 Tuesday October 13 – Fairbridge to Harvey
• Day 4 Wednesday October 14 – Harvey to Bunbury
• Day 5 Thursday October 15 – Bunbury to Busselton
• Day 6 Friday October 16 – Busselton to Margaret River
• Day 7 Saturday October 17 – Margaret River to Augusta