A group of 18 “everyday Australians” arrived at Kirrawee this week after a 15,000 kilometre motorcycle ride to boost research into childhood cancer.
The 12 riders, two pillions and support vehicles crew raised more than $110,000 for the Steven Walter Children’s Cancer Foundation’s during the annual Around Australia Ride.
The foundation was founded in 2001 in memory of Steven Walter, of Kirrawee, who died in 2000 at the age of 19 after an eight-year battle with cancer.
The oldest rider in this year’s event was 71 and the youngest, a support crew member and relief rider, was 24. There was one female rider.
The ride ended at Tynan’s Hyundai in Kirrawee, recognising the support of sponsor Hyundai Help for Kids, as well as Stephen’s home suburb and location of the foundation’s office.
Among those waiting to welcome the riders were two young childhood cancer patients, James and Jade, who presented each participant with a commemorative medal.
Also present was Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Gold Appeal Mobile, which has returned from a month-long tour around NSW to visit hospital patients in regional areas.
The ride started in Tamworth and went to some of Australia’s most remote corners.
Foundation chief executive and Steven’s mother, Susan Walter, said they aimed to raise $100,000 for research into a cure for childhood cancer, clinical trials and better treatments.
“We smashed that goal, raising in excess of $110,000,” she said.
“We are very grateful to the many people who so generously contributed to this achievement including our ride sponsor and platinum partner, Hyundai Help for Kids, our riders and their supporters.
“Together we continue to work hard towards our vision of 100 per cent survival for all children with cancer and the prevention of their suffering.
“Steve didn’t want other children to have to go through what he did, so he asked us to do whatever we could to find a cure.”
Ms Walter said, over the last 18 years, volunteers, corporate sponsors and generous donors had raised $7.5 million for research.
The riders and support crew had paid their own way, so all the money raised would go to research, she said.
The 34-day ride, which started at Tamworth on May 11, passed through 80 towns and cities from Bundaberg to Broome and Mataranka to Mount Gambier.
In order to participate, riders had to arrange sponsorship and, at each stop, the group sought donations, sold merchandise and raised awareness about the work that was needed to find a cure for children’s cancer