Fundraising Cycle Hero
My wife Kelly was diagnosed with stage III melanoma when she was pregnant and under 30. A scary time for our family. Twelve years later concerned about a mole on her arm and understanding the importance of early detection she took quick action seeing a professional who removed the mole which subsequently tested positive for melanoma. Fortunately a wider excision come back clear but this got me thinking about what I could do to help raise awareness of the advantages of early detection in beating melanoma.
I decided to set myself a challenge of riding the BDO Wellington to Auckland cycle challenge. Seven days back to back cycling over 700 kilometres. I’d done a little bit of cycling previously but never anything of this magnitude. I wanted to use the challenge to raise not only funds for Melanoma New Zealand, but just as importantly awareness amongst my family and friends of the advantages of early detection in beating this horrible disease.
A conversation with the principle sponsor of the event BDO New Zealand and I had secured a spot to ride on one of their teams. Awesome, with the logistical support offered by BDO and support of my employer I rode 2,000km in the ten weeks preceding the event and had over 30,000 views of social media posts detailing my initiative, training and the ride itself.
The ride was challenging but amazing. We often rode off the main roads getting to see beautiful parts of New Zealand I’d never seen before. Two stages were cancelled due to treacherous weather conditions yet we still rode in some of the toughest conditions I have ever ridden in in my life. At each night’s prize giving you’d hear the odd story of someone who crashed or the likes of Graham who got four punctures on one leg riding from Taupo to Te Awamutu. I was fortunate, no crashes, no punctures although I did stop and give Graham one of my spare tubes when he was on puncture number three.
A highlight of the ride had to be the stage up the Bruce road from the Chateau to the top car park of Whakapapa ski field on Mount Raupehu. A special stage team time trial, 7km straight up. Stunning views from the top, a real sense of achievement and we got to ride back down.
My overall highlight though was when a good friend came to wish me well the morning I was flying to Wellington to start the challenge. He’d been to a specialist the day before and had four suspicious moles removed. I’d set out to raise some funds for Melanoma NZ and raise awareness amongst my friends. The fund raising totalled $10,000 but most importantly here was an example where talking about what I was doing, talking about the advantages of early detection, those conversations had helped a mate.