Southern Downs supports those pedalling for a Brain Cancer Cure
Bridge to Bridge Charity Riders to take on seventh 1000km challenge
Gympie cyclist, Randal Bishop lost his daughter to an aggressive brain tumour in 2009.
However, he has lined up yet again with 15 others on Saturday 29 April to conduct the seventh annual Bridge to Bridge Cycle Charity Ride.
This classic eight day 1000 plus km trek began at Brisbane’s Story Bridge on Saturday morning, arriving in Warwick that afternoon. Early Sunday, the ride headed out to Stanthorpe, then on to the New England Tableland and the Hunter Valley arriving at the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the following Saturday afternoon.
These charity rides that are organised by Randal and a team of dedicated supporters have collectively raised well over $200,000 for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, so far. The foundation’s focus is research into better ways of detecting, managing and hopefully curing brain cancer.
This year the Bridge to Bridge team includes support driver Howard Cutler, an old school mate of Randal’s.
Howard, in echoing the sentiments of the team, is concerned that brain cancer remains one of the most understudied cancers - receiving relatively small amounts of research funding - and causing so much economic and social distress.
“About 1,400 Australians will be diagnosed with brain cancer each year, of which over 1,100 will die prematurely from their tumours.
“While brain cancer continues to cause more deaths in children and adults under 40 than any other type of cancer, it is concerning that there have been no significant recorded improvements in survival rates in almost 20 years” Howard said.
Accompanying the riders for the Brisbane to Tenterfield leg are Robin and Dan, parents of -21 month old Isabella, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the cancer in September 2016.
“Like all other families affected by the disease, our lives have been turned upside down. Dan and I had to give up our jobs and move from Gladstone to Brisbane for the duration of Isabella’s treatment, while Isabella’s older brother has had to remain behind in Gladstone in care of relatives,” Robin said.
“The whole thing has made us feel quite powerless at times, yet we will give it our all to help our extraordinarily brave and resilient little girl.
"Being part of the riding team helps. They are a great bunch of people, from all walks of life, from school students to retirees, all contributing in some way. It has given both of us a lift in spirits,” Robin said.
This year the riding team includes second timer, Perth based Greg Weatherstone. Greg, who gives his age as being on the best side of 70, is riding in support of his nephew Marc, who has been battling the disease for several years.
“After doing the ride in 2015, it is great to be involved again,” Greg said.
“Each ride seems to bring a different group of people, but still ordinary people like us, fund raising for the necessary research – and building that awareness through the broader community of the need to tackle this dreadful disease.
“In the longer run, small actions such as these can only help people like my nephew and their families,” said Greg.
At Dalveen, the Bridge to Bridge crew were joined for brunch by Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Tracy Dobie.
Mayor Dobie in speaking to the group appreciated the event’s focus upon regional Australia.
“Although the ride begins and ends in a capital city, its route deliberately encompasses a number of regional agricultural communities,” she said.
“As such, the ride recognises that brain tumour issues also affect those living in the regions and that there are difficulties in managing appropriate responses such as readily accessing support services.
“It is great that the ride has an emphasis on the management of the disease for sufferers and their families as well as searching for a cure. That can only help people such as Robin and Dan and the many others who find themselves in a similar position,” the Mayor said.
Randal summed up his feelings about the ride so far in praising the veteran and newbie riders for their energy and enthusiasm.
“It has been great so far but we must not forget our local supporters on the Downs and in the Granite Belt. We really appreciate the assistance that we received over the years,” Randal added.
“On occasion the local riders have come out to give us an escort up towards Stanthorpe on the second morning. This year Tracy and the Council have weighed in and joined us on the track.
“After a hard first day coming up from Brisbane and then the climb up to The Summit, this local support really lifts morale.
“It makes the whole thing that much easier,” Randal said.
To sponsor, donate or participate in the charity ride, go to the website: http://www.curebraincancer.org.au/my-fundraising/10338/bridge-2-bridge-cycle-charity-ride-2017