Everyone who rides, volunteers or fundraises for this event is a hero.
Here are some champions of the MACA Cancer 200. Meet them and hear their incredible stories below.
Almost everyone who does the ride has a cancer story.
Either because it’s affected them directly or through a loved one or friend. My cancer story started by accident. Last year, I was giving blood and as part of that screening, they found something that led to a double primary cancer diagnosis. It was unexpected and tough to fathom that I went in to give to others and came out as a cancer patient.
As someone who is still living with cancer, I feel it’s important not to let up on this disease. Equally, as someone who has seen family, friends and colleagues pass away from cancer and other diseases that the Perkins research – I am driven to do something in their memory.
Ironically, getting a cancer diagnosis has made my life better. I now look after myself more… I put more effort into the people in my life that matter, and I’m keen to pay back and pay forward the opportunities I’ve been given. That’s why I ride… that and the fact that it’s a bloody fantastic event.
I’m very aware of the fortunate life I’ve had so far.
I’ve avoided cancer but I have certainly been touched by the disease. My sister-in-law passed away from Glioblastoma. And my wife uncle who I was close to and rode alongside passed away from metastatic prostate cancer last Christmas.
I joined the ride as a dare from my boss. I stay with the ride because it’s truly the best weekend of my year. And that’s not just because of the feeling you get knowing you’re fighting cancer. It’s the camaraderie amongst the riders. It truly feels like one big family reunion.
It's also the fact that in training for the event, if you see anyone on the road with a Perkins jersey, there’s always a knowing nod exchanged, if not a stop and chat. That, coupled with the genuine and heartfelt thanks from the Perkins staff – not just on the weekend, but pre and post ride as well. You can’t help but feel your little part is so deeply appreciated.
I ride in memory of my 14-year-old nephew, Hunter.
He was a vivacious, athletic and creative young man. He was a much-loved member of the family and his local community.
Hunter was 11 when my sister, who is an oncology nurse noticed he had swollen glands in his neck. After much testing leukemia was diagnosed.
Everything possible was done to save Hunter’s life - included a bone marrow transplant. He regained enough health to go back to school before the cruel news that the leukemia had come back. Another bone marrow transplant was being discussed, however by then, COVID was now a complicating factor that made it difficult to get the matching donor’s bone marrow from Germany.
Hunter sadly passed away at the age of 14 on January 28, 2021.
The physical and mental impacts of Hunter’s treatment had an impact not just on my nephew and immediate family but his friends and community. It highlighted that cancer has far reaching consequences not just for the individual but those supporting them. That is what inspired me to ride and raise money for research - for Hunter and to make a difference to others fighting cancer.
I lost my first wife, Carol to cancer.
After that, I got involved in some cancer charity work, but it didn’t really resonate with me. I think perhaps I was still grieving. And then I met my partner Linda who introduced me to the mighty Ortho Sisters, an incredible community team who have raised over $500k for the ride over the years.
Then Linda got breast cancer. It’s the type of breast cancer that in the past had a very poor prognosis. But today, thanks to medical research, new drugs specifically designed to target her cancer are available. And they are simply game changers when it comes to treatment and recovery.
And that’s why I ride. I ride for Carol, and for Linda. But I also ride with gratitude to the researchers around the world who spend decades developing these discoveries. And I ride with humility for those women suffering at the wrong time to have access to these remarkable drugs. I am paying it forward so that others in the future can look back and thank us for not standing idly by... just like we thank those who came before us that did something to turn the tide on cancer.
My wife was the bravest person I knew.
I ride in her honour. I did my first ride in 2015. My wife, Alison had recently completed another round of chemotherapy for Lymphoma. She survived Hodgkins Lymphoma in 1983, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2012, which returned in 2017. Each time she said, “we’re going to beat this.” But the scarring on her lungs and the damage to her heart took its toll. Ironically it was her heart that took her life not the cancer.
I have never been diagnosed with cancer, but I’ve seen loved ones and friends do the battle, some successfully and some not. The hardest thing to see is how indiscriminate cancer is. In the chemo ward, you see children, parents, the elderly – all putting on brave faces.
I ride to fund research. Because if not me who? I consider it a great privilege to be able to ride with so many great people, especially the ones undergoing treatment and the survivors.
My initial thought was, am I going to survive this?
I was at a kids’ school camp when one of the other dads noticed a spot on my neck. It turned out to be melanoma. After multiple attempts by doctors and specialists to get the boundaries clear, I was referred to an incredible team at the Perkins, WAKMAS. They bring together a team of experts to look at the hardest to treat melanoma. They found multiple abnormalities and even more hidden melanoma which was removed. I have an impressive scar and some back pain to deal with, but I’d take that over the alternative any day.
I joined the Ride in 2021 as a way of giving back to the Perkins and WAKMAS. It really filled my cup with positivity. Meeting people, hearing their stories and being around such a supportive community of riders is both healing and inspiring. I want my family and friends to experience it this year so I’m starting a team – to give back and pay it forward.
Receiving my cancer diagnosis came as an awful blow. As someone who enjoys a healthy lifestyle – I felt ripped off.
Prior to my prostate cancer diagnosis, my wife and I completed 21 Ironman Triathlon events between us, and it wasn’t uncommon for us to spend up to eight hours together out on the bicycles in a day. As well as the traditional cycling events, we’ve also participated in three Tasmanian Classic Century events which is a 160km ride over one day on a penny farthing. So far, we’re the only husband and wife team to have completed it!
The last time I participated in the MACA Cancer 200 (then the Ride to Conquer Cancer) in 2018 I had a fantastic time with mates and encouraging other riders along the way. Riding the course on my penny farthing was merely a bonus. This year as I pull out the penny once again - this time with my wife by my side and recent prostatectomy - my return to the Ride is a little more personal.
Now that I am three months post-operation and reclaiming my strength, I’m relieved that my cancer is behind me, and I can begin returning to the things I love such as cycling. As the Tasmanian Classic Century is no longer running, I now want to make the MACA Cancer 200 my favourite weekend of the year.
I ride for a cure and to know that my husband didn’t die in vain.
I was first introduced to the Ride back when it was the Ride to Conquer Cancer. Many years and a new road bike later, I now ride as a solo rider alongside three other incredible women in the MACA Cancer 200. Riding in this event makes me feel like I am really making a difference and fighting to cure to this horrible disease.
My husband Brad and I met when we were 19, and we were together until he passed away at age 50. At the time of his diagnosis, Brad was working full time and training for an ironman - this was the last thing we expected.
Being diagnosed with multiple myeloma hit Brad like a truck. And while Brad was going through his treatment, I had never felt so hopeless and helpless. After his three-and-a-half-year struggle, Brad finally found peace and came to terms with his diagnosis. However, mental burden of a diagnosis is real, and is something I’d really like to see receive more attention in the future.
Taking part in the Ride makes me feel empowered and proud to be proactive and raising awareness. Everyone at the event makes you feel like a superhero and celebrity. It’s an incredible VIP experience from start to finish.
Dad meant the world to me. I was in complete disbelief that he had cancer.
My first involvement with the Ride was in 2020 when I took part in the personal Challenge event with my team, SRG Global. When I rode again in my first physical event in 2021, the entire experience and being surrounded by so many people who had been touched by cancer had a really big impact on me. Yet, never in a million years did I ever think I would be back this year riding in honour of a loved one.
Dad’s health started declining around Christmas 2021. By March of 2022, it was surreal to hear the prognosis, ‘3-three-six months to live’. As a family, we accepted that chemo was not the right choice for Dad and rallied together to ensure he could cherish the last few months he had with us, which included my wedding in April of this year.
Dad worked incredibly hard his entire life. , And aside from his success he’s most remembered for his generosity and the way he helped others. I only hope that, in my lifetime, I can give to others in the same way that Dad did. Riding in the MACA Cancer 200 feels like the first step in doing that.
Taking part in the Ride allows you to hear directly about the cancer research being undertaken at the Perkins, and this whole event really makes you feel like you’re making a difference.