MERCURY SERIES: MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Illawarra Innovative Industry Network (i3net) co-ordinator Sandy Haig is a busy woman.
While planning for Monday's annual general meeting of the manufacturing cluster, she took part in a two-day residential course to mark the start of the inaugural Leadership Illawarra Program on Friday and Saturday and still found time to ride 100 kilometres for charity on Sunday.
The leadership program course was run by RDA Illawarra, the University of Wollongong Sydney Business School and The Illawarra Connection (TIC).
Representatives from all three organisations were impressed by Mrs Haig's attitude when her story was shared at a TIC event on Tuesday night.
More than 230 Illawarra business leaders heard how she had taken part in the second day of the Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer and planned to go back and ride the first stage this weekend.
The two-day ride encourages participants to hop on a pushbike and ride 200 kilometres to raise money for people fighting cancer.
The ride is staged throughout Australia and is recognised by many as one of the biggest fund-raising events of its kind in the country.
Mrs Haig participated in the Sydney and Macarthur region event and wants to ensure her sponsors get full value for their generosity.
On Sunday, she rode from Camden to Sydney with 1600 other cyclists but this weekend she will be riding virtually alone.
But she won't have to search too hard for inspiration.
Mrs Haig said she had always wanted to do something to help other people since her mother (Ivy Haley) died of lung cancer in 1999.
"I've done various bits and pieces such as Relay for Life and other things more low key," she said.
"But with this, one of my girlfriends [Sandra Kay] is a cancer survivor and was doing it. She told me about it and encouraged me so I went ahead and just did it. And i3net members decided to participate by throwing money at it."
Mrs Haig said local manufacturing and engineering firms had also given her plenty of verbal support.
"I think they were all pretty amazed that I had a go at it.
"I am going to do the other 100 kilometres this Saturday. I have actually got over my target of $3200. It has been really awesome and humbling."
Mrs Haig said it was an opportunity for her to do something in a small way to recognise her mum while also helping other people.
"It was really personal . . . but on a bigger scale it was for everybody," she said.