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Forty-two cyclists and road crew will leave Mater Hospital Pimlico on Friday 23 August to embark on the 14th annual 1600-kilometre Smiling for Smiddy Challenge, in support of cancer research at Mater.
The riders will arrive at Mater’s South Brisbane campus on Saturday 31 August after passing through 32 towns and communities in Queensland—raising funds and awareness in honour of triathlete and friend Adam Smiddy who passed away from an aggressive melanoma in 2006, aged just 26.
Mater Research Professor and former Townsville resident Brian Gabrielli will be participating in the ride for the second time to show his support and to pass on his thanks to the team who make ongoing research like his possible. His sister Lu is also taking part and together, they’ve raised over $20 000 so far.
“My work is predominantly in melanoma research, but the study can be applied to fighting a range of different cancers. We have had some fantastic breakthroughs in recent years but there is still much to do,” Professor Gabrielli said.
“I once had a patient who said to me 'Diagnosis is Facts but Research is Hope' and that has always stayed with me. I am always looking to see how we can improve our research and give patients hope.”
Professor Gabrielli said the ride was a test of physical and mental endurance and it took the Smiling for Smiddy team some time to convince him to join up for the first time last year.
“I’m glad I did, one highlights for me is passing through some of these small towns where the whole population turns out to greet you,” Professor Gabrielli said.
“I’m sure in some of these towns the entire population turns out to see us, and locals even put us up in their homes for the night. We really appreciate the hospitality and you find in many of these areas the people have a connection back to Mater.”
Mater Foundation Chief Executive Officer Nigel Harris said he was humbled that in its fourteenth year, the ‘Smiddy’ ride continues to generate excitement in the community.
“Many people in Townsville have a connection to Mater, we are always greeted with such a warm welcome when we arrive. The team has been so overwhelmed by the support of the community,” Mr Harris said.
“Since 2006, our incredible riders have raised more than $10 million for world-class research projects happening at Mater Research in the areas of melanoma, prostate, breast and ovarian cancers.
“We can’t thank the Townsville community enough for supporting Mater’s work each year and for helping the riders push themselves to their limits—physically, emotionally and mentally—in order to raise even more funds for cancer research.”
Along the nine day ride through country Queensland, riders will stop off at towns including, Mundubbera, Biloela, Baralaba, Blackwater, Clermont, Belyando Crossing and Charters Towers before finishing at Mater, South Brisbane.
To find out more or to donate please visit the Smily for Smiddy website.