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.
I'm a ten year rider and after riding for the 9th time in 2020, things became more personal.
The end of 2020 was a complete whirlwind!
On the 9th of December I left my gynaecologist's office with a diagnosis of cervical cancer (adenocarcinoma) and the next day I went straight to a gynecologic oncologist who confirmed the diagnosis of a cancerous tumour in my cervix... and as it was, went straight from there to an event at Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, quite fitting really! My mind could not stop spinning while discussing the next steps... not knowing if it was contained or whether the cancer has spread outside to lymph nodes or any other area... unsure if the tumour could be fully removed or if I'd need to commence treatment.
After more scans, we got the best news that we could get - the cancer was contained in cervix, and I'd need to have a full radical hysterectomy (including ovaries, all the bits out!) This will hopefully get it all, but of course I'll be tested after removal. I am still stunned being hit by the cancer truck... being healthy, young, fit (kinda!) and absolutely zero symptoms! This is a huge reminder to EVERYONE that no one is invincible, no matter who you are or how old... this cancer crap does not discriminate!
Whilst my experience so far has been quite surreal, I am just so lucky it has been caught early and I'm now just keen to shout from the rooftops to EVERYONE, women and men alike to make sure you keep getting your bits checked! Cancer doesn't need to be a death sentence and early detection and diagnosis is critical.
I will be back again for my 10th Cancer 200 Ride, and this time will have a whole new meaning!
This ride has become my life, and I can’t imagine not being involved in helping to raise awareness, raise funds and be involved in finding answers to treat cancer.
It became very apparent to myself and my family that we had so many of our close family and friends diagnosed, undergoing treatment, surviving or losing their lives to cancer. It was for this reason that we proudly made our support team shirts to reflect some of their names. Since those early days, we have lost others to cancer and I feel the need to carry on to help in any way that I can.
From 2016 when Teddy was the catalyst for joining the Ride, I realized the Ride had come to mean more to me as I was also riding for others lost or who were battling cancer.
These included my brother Raymond aged 60, brain cancer 2000; cousin Sonja aged 56, breast cancer 2005; dear friend Clint aged 57, brain cancer 2008 (I was in the hospital at the same time as Clint for brain surgery and I went home, but Clint didn’t); my wife Marilyn’s father aged 63, bowel cancer 1986; cousin Heather surviving multiple cancers; friend Trish surviving bowel cancer; and close friend Melody aged 50 surviving breast cancer.
And only a few weeks ago my dear cousin Marilyn lost her long battle and passed away from a severe form of leukemia. Marilyn was a great supporter of the Ride and this year’s Ride is going to be dedicated to her.
In 2007, I noticed a fairly large lump in my throat on morning as I was shaving –something that seemed to appear overnight. At first I put it down to possible swelling from an impact at football training the night before, so I left it to see if it would reduce over a couple of days.
After no change for four days, I made an appointment with my GP who referred me for an ultrasound which proved inconclusive. The GP referred me for an aspirated biopsy which also proved inconclusive. The GP sent me on to a surgeon who was to remove the nodule and perform sectional biopsies while I was on the operating table which also proved inconclusive. Finally, after the nodule was sent for further testing it was revealed that I had follicular cancer at my post-operation check-up with the surgeon.
Following the surgery, diagnosis and initial treatment, I had a renewed zest for life. But I hit rock bottom around May 2008 and was prepared to quit work. Thankfully I had supportive staff who coerced me into sitting down and talking things out. After a two-hour emotional rollercoaster, I felt refreshed. It must’ve been just what I needed and I’ve never looked back.
In 2011, I kept seeing the ads for this exciting new Ride in aid of cancer research. Given my personal experience with cancer and seeing my friends and colleagues lose their battle it inspired me to take the plunge and sign up. Knowing I had a vast family and friendship network I’d be able to raise the $2500, but not knowing whether I’d be able to make it the 200km on a bike.
As it turned out, my bike, which I’d dusted off to test it out, wasn’t going to cut it so I bought a road bike and all the gear. This decision ended up being the best thing I could’ve done as I still enjoy cycling, look forward to the Ride every year, and probably would never have committed to the second Ride if I’d battled and hated the first.
Here comes Ride number 10!
In 2012 a friend asked me to join her team for the inaugural Ride. I literally couldn’t think of a reason to say no so I bought a bike and off I went!
The work the Perkins do is so important and impactful. Without fundraising they couldn’t do what they do and this is my way of giving something back to the community. Life is so busy, sometimes we can forget the importance of giving something back.
Why do I keep coming back?
The sense of family and the safe space the ride community provides, the honour of having riders share their very personal and emotional stories and most importantly the opportunity to make a difference!
The opening ceremony is something I treasure every year. The emotion and sense of anticipation is almost overwhelming.
The support along the route each year is inspiring. It’s never too long before you pass a group of cheering, flag waving supporters. It’s also wonderful to talk to other riders along the way, encouraging any who may be feeling a little tired or overwhelmed.
The atmosphere at camp on Saturday night is a massive highlight for me. Hearing others share their stories, feeling such a sense of community, celebration and knowing you are part of something very special.
On Day Two of the Ride I wear a jersey with the names of all my loved ones who have passed due to cancer embroidered on the back. Thankfully no names added last year! My mantra is “Because I can …” I have this embroided on my Day Two jersey.
Celebrating at the finish line is amazing! Seeing the faces of everyone who are simply overjoyed at their achievement, seeing family and friends who are so supportive of their riders.
I'm celebrating 10 years with the MACA Cancer 200 Ride for Research.
One thing I’ve learned about cancer is that it’s not a fair fight. It doesn’t care if you’re fit, healthy, or young. It’s not selective about who you are — you can still get taken away.
But it’s my hope, that one day, research can change that.
Like many of you, I’ve been impacted by cancer. After a close friend was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2011, I was inspired to take part in my first MACA Cancer 200 back in 2012.
But in August 2018, a knock on my door would change the course of my life. It was in that moment I learned that my father was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.
Just 45 days later, he passed away.
His sudden loss left an enormous impact on our family — from diagnosis to intensive care —the speed of it left us in shock. Some of us were not able to say our goodbyes.
But I found some solace in not dwelling on what I lost — but focusing on what I gained from having him in my life.
My dad was a hard worker, and it’s his drive and determination that inspires me to return year after year.
Watching my friends and father fight cancer was difficult. As a loved one, you can feel helpless, like there’s nothing you can do that makes a difference.
But the MACA Cancer 200 gives me the chance to do something. Every year, I become part of something much bigger than myself. Something that both challenges me physically, and inspires thousands to raise vital funds towards the next cancer breakthrough.
And while I’m not sure what the next cancer breakthrough will be, I just hope for as many breakthroughs as possible. Because any discovery will help save lives in the future, and to me, that’s the ultimate goal.
This year I am proud to say is my tenth year! And just like my father, I’m driven to make my impact.