BLOG: Annual ride helps children in fight against cancer

The Steven Walter Children’s Cancer Foundation AROUND AUSTRALIA RIDE 2013.

On May 1, 23 motorbikes and three support vehicles will leave the grounds of the Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick and ride 14,000 kilometres around our wide brown land in 33 days.

Our objective is to raise $150,000 for the Steven Walter Children’s Cancer Foundation who will pass it on to the medical research teams that are closing in on better treatments and, ultimately, a cure for childhood cancers.

We will ride north to Townsville, across Queensland to Mount Isa, on to Tennant Creek, Katherine and across the Top End to Broome. After a rest day we will ride south to Perth, across the Nullabor and return to the Children’s Hospital on June 3 via Lakes Entrance and Batemans Bay.

Each rider has been asked to raise $5000, and each pillion $2500 to be eligible to ride and we will raise funds along the way to reach our target.

The funds will be used to pay for clinical trials to test the ideas of the best medical minds in Australia – trials which, one day soon, will provide the answers we need to achieve ... 100 per cent survival from childhood cancers.

In 1992, Steven Walter, aged 11, found a lump on his leg and was diagnosed with cancer.

As with any 11-year-old, his life had revolved around his family and friends, his schoolwork ... and motorbikes. Now there was chemotherapy.

Steven was a junior Enduro rider with a Sydney club and competed on weekends, battling his illness and the debilitating treatment to which he was subjected. Treatment and operations went on and on and hopes were raised as he went into remission. But the cancer returned shortly before the Australian Junior Enduro Championships, and Steven refused treatment until after the event. He overcame his illness, and the best young Enduro riders in the country, to win the Silver Medal.

Then he packed up his gear and his bike and went back to hospital for more chemo.

From his hospital bed he wrote a letter to his mum and dad asking them to combine the motorcycling community and the NSW Snowy area, which he had visited and enjoyed, to raise some money ‘‘so that no other kid has to go through what I have been through’’.

With some help from friends, his mum and dad, in 2001, organised the first Snowy Ride. About 30 riders paid their entry fee and gathered for the run to the Snowy Mountains. The event has run every year since then. For the last couple of years, over 3000 bikes have participated.

Since the 2001 ride, the Steven Walter Children’s Cancer Foundation has raised around $5 million for research into childhood cancers.

The foundation’s objective is 100 per cent survival from childhood cancer.

Only then will no other kid have to go through what Steven went through.

It’s the 2013 lap for the little ones. Please help us to help them.

Donations can be made direct to the Foundation’s website:  Press the "Donate" button on the home page and please mark MW in the "Donated on behalf of" box for tallying purposes.

Bellambi ‘‘born-again motorcyclist’’ Michael Wilkins is joining the ride and will be regularly updating his blog while on the journey. 

Michael Wilkins. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Michael Wilkins. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER


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