South West Trek to raise money for childhood cancer

WA's premier charity bike ride is back for its 18th anniversary when 15 riders take to the road on October 11.

The trek will see the riders travel 600 kilometres from Perth to Augusta in the hope of raising $40,000 for the Children's Leukaemia & Cancer Research Foundation (CLCRF).

After cycling through some WA's most spectacular roads the riders will finish in August on October 17.

The event has been organised once again by South West Bike Trek coordinator and foundation member Eric Maddock, with the help of local Lions and Rotary Clubs.

There are a range of riders from Mandurah, Harvey and Bunbury taking on the challenge.

Harvey's Doug Buist will be participating in the trek for the fifth time.

"Two years ago, I had open heart surgery, but I've realised that this shouldn't stop us from doing the things that are most important," he said.

"For me supporting this event, which I believe is a really, really great cause is a no brainer.

"Childhood cancer is extremely emotional for a lot of people and some very close to me.

"So, I'm riding for those people who can't."

Bunbury's Peter and Julie McCreghan said cycling brings them closer together.

"We did this event last year and had a ball, it was so relaxed, and we made some great friendships along the way," Mrs McCreghan said.

"We know people who have battled through childhood cancer and we want to do everything in our power to help fundraise for research that's why we chose the Southwest Bike Trek.

"The important work that Children's Leukaemia and Cancer Research Foundation do is why we need to raise as much money as possible this year."

Event coordinator Mr Maddock became a supporter of the trek after his great-niece Jade was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was four years old.

Jade is now 17 and in remission and Mr Maddock said the treatment and support she received left him with an overwhelming sense of wanting to "pay it back".

"The doctors did so much to help Jade and it is so wonderful to see her loving life now," he said.

"Originally childhood cancer research focused on treatment and survival rate but now it also focuses on treating the individual and the type of cancer they have. That means the side effects of the treatment are less and they have a lot better quality of life."

Australia has one of the highest incidences of childhood cancer worldwide, with 600 children diagnosed every year.

The South West Bike Trek is the biggest purely volunteer run fundraising event for childhood cancer in WA and since it started in 2002, has raised close to $700,000 for CLCRF.

Rather than a race, the trek is conducted at a leisurely pace with riders encouraged to work together to ensure each other's wellbeing.

Mr Maddock said while 2020 had been a challenging year for everyone, he was delighted the event could take place and continue to raise important funds for research.

"We were so worried we wouldn't be able to hold the ride this year because of COVID-19 but when the restrictions started to ease, I was getting so many calls from riders wanting to take part," he said.

"We have had to restrict the numbers this year, but I am just so happy it's going ahead as it's such a hugely important fundraiser for children's cancer research. "

This year, South West Bike Trek organisers are calling for the public to "adopt a rider" in an effort to assist the fundraising efforts of the 15 incredible riders who have signed up for the challenge.

Due to COVID-19 severely impacting the riders' ability to fundraise, schools are also being encouraged to support riders by holding gold coin donation days.

The 2020 South West Bike Trek is expected to follow the below schedule:

  • Day 1 Sunday 11 October South Perth to Fairbridge
  • Day 2 Monday 12 October - Fairbridge to Preston return
  • Day 3 Tuesday 13 October - Fairbridge to Harvey
  • Day 4 Wednesday 14 October - Harvey to Bunbury
  • Day 5 Thursday 15 October - Bunbury to Busselton
  • Day 6 Friday 16 October - Busselton to Margaret River
  • Day 7 Saturday 17 October - Margaret River to Augusta View the full schedule here

For more information visit swbiketrek.com.au To support a rider visit swbiketrek.com.au/ support-riders

This story Riders excited for 2020 trek first appeared on Bunbury Mail.