Meet your Ride Ambassadors
Everyone who rides, volunteers or fundraises for this event is a hero.
Below are some of the champions of our ride and their incredible stories.
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.