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Forty-two cyclists and road crew arrived at Mater, South Brisbane on Saturday 31 August, completing the 1,600km 14th annual Smiling for Smiddy Challenge passing through 32 Queensland towns and communities, in support of cancer research.
The riders left Mater Hospital, Plimco Townsville on Friday 23 August in honour of triathlete Adam Smiddy who passed away from an aggressive melanoma in 2006, aged 26 and an incredible $285 000 was raised for cancer research at Mater.
Mater Research Professor Brian Gabrielli participated in the ride for the second time to show his support and to pass on his thanks to the team who make his research possible.
“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.
“I’m glad I did, the highlights for me were passing through some of these small towns where the whole population turns out to greet you,” Professor Gabrielli said.
“I swear 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. You will find in many of these areas the people have a connection back to Mater.”
Mater Springfield Nurse Unit Manager Joe Gabriel participated in the ride for the first time this year to show his support for people impacted by cancer and raise awareness of melanoma.
“I have lost several relatives to cancer over the years and I also work very closely with people who are impacted by cancer. I thought this was one way I could show them my support and raise funds for vital research in this area,” Joe said.
“When we passed through some of the towns we stopped off at schools to educate children on being sun-smart as we always believe prevention is better than cure.”
Smiling for Smiddy was founded by Mark ‘Sharky’ Smoothy, to honour his friend Adam Smiddy.
“Smiddy riders are like a family and together we ride in memory of our mate Adam and for all people touched by cancer, now and in the future,” Mark said.
“We can’t thank the Mater community enough for supporting us each year and helping us push the limits to raise more funds for cancer research at Mater.”
Since 2006, Smiling for Smiddy has raised close to $10 million for world-class research projects at Mater Research in areas of melanoma, prostate, breast and ovarian cancers.
Along the nine day ride through country Queensland, riders stopped off at towns including, Mundubbera, Biloela, Baralaba, Blackwater, Clermont, Belyando Crossing and Charters Towers before finishing at Mater, South Brisbane.