Ride to con­quer cancer

The Australian Energy Review - - NEWS -

One in two Aus­tralians will be di­ag­nosed with cancer dur­ing their life­time, but med­i­cal re­search means that sur­vival rates for many can­cers are im­prov­ing. Harry Perkins In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Re­search, based in Ned­lands WA, is known as WA’S pre­mier adult med­i­cal re­search in­sti­tute; but it re­lies heav­ily on do­na­tions. The In­sti­tute’s an­nual MACA Ride to Con­quer Cancer, run­ning from 21-22 Oc­to­ber this year, is a fun way for peo­ple to sup­port the cause. El­iz­a­beth Fabri spoke to Harry Perkins In­sti­tute di­rec­tor Pro­fes­sor Peter Leed­man about the event and re­search pro­grams cur­rently un­der­way. Q. How much has the char­ity ride raised for the in­sti­tute since the first event in 2012, and how much are you hop­ing to raise this year?

Since 2012, thanks to the in­cred­i­ble com­mit­ment and ded­i­ca­tion of thou­sands of rid­ers, the MACA Ride to Con­quer Cancer has raised more than $23.5 mil­lion for the Harry Perkins In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Re­search.

This year we’re hop­ing to raise a fur­ther $4 mil­lion for ground-break­ing cancer re­search projects at the Perkins, but this will only be pos­si­ble through strong com­mu­nity sup­port.

Q. How do the do­na­tions ben­e­fit perkins and as­sist lo­cal cancer re­search?

Do­na­tions from the MACA Ride to Con­quer Cancer di­rectly sup­port Perkins re­searchers work­ing at our world-class fa­cil­i­ties at the QEII Med­i­cal Cen­tre in Ned­lands and the Fiona Stan­ley Hos­pi­tal precinct in Mur­doch. The funds raised sup­port sci­en­tists and their teams, and en­able the In­sti­tute to re­cruit new sci­en­tists and start new re­search projects.

The funds also help us to pur­chase ad­vanced equip­ment that can help speed up the time it takes to trans­form a dis­cov­ery into new a medicine for pa­tients.

Q. can you tell us about some of your re­search pro­grams?

Sev­eral life-sav­ing cancer re­search ar­eas, in­clud­ing breast, prostate, melanoma, colon, head and neck and liver are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated at the Perkins as a re­sult of Ride-funded dol­lars.

The pur­pose of these pro­grams is to test new ideas for tack­ling cancer, pro­mote new col­lab­o­ra­tions be­tween cancer re­search teams and in­crease cross-fer­til­i­sa­tion of ideas. Some of these ex­cit­ing projects in­clude a new way to treat breast cancer cells us­ing nanopar­ti­cles; a new drug that im­proves blood flow to can­cers in­creas­ing their re­sponse to chemo­ther­apy; a new way to make liver cells from stem cells; and treat­ing ad­vanced melanoma with small RNA mol­e­cules – just to name a few.

Q. Take us through the two day ride?

The two-day, 200km cy­cling ad­ven­ture be­gins with an in­spir­ing open­ing cer­e­mony in South Perth, where we re­mem­ber those lost to cancer and hon­our those con­tin­u­ing the fight.

Ev­ery 25-30km, ride vol­un­teers man pit stops with snacks, drinks and first aid (if you need it), and helpers are there to mend your bike if you have any dif­fi­cul­ties.

At the end of day one, there is a fan­tas­tic camp, where rid­ers can en­joy a cold beer, a hot shower and a mas­sage be­fore a fun evening of en­ter­tain­ment and so­cial­is­ing.

A lo­cal cancer ex­pert and I speak at the camp and ex­plain the in­cred­i­ble, life-sav­ing re­search be­ing con­ducted thanks to the hard-work and ded­i­ca­tion of our rid­ers and vol­un­teers.

Af­ter an overnight cam­pout in Man­durah, it’s back on the road, with the beau­ti­ful scenery of the WA coast­line pro­vid­ing a per­fect back­drop for this epic jour­ney.

On day two, rid­ers make their way back to Perth for a high en­ergy cel­e­bra­tion of their ef­forts and the amaz­ing im­pact they’ve make in the quest to con­quer cancer.

Q. can peo­ple of all fit­ness lev­els and ages par­tic­i­pate?

Ab­so­lutely! The ride is not a race, all you need is a bike, a hel­met and a pas­sion to make a dif­fer­ence for peo­ple fac­ing cancer.

We have par­tic­i­pants rang­ing in age from 16-70 and ev­ery fit­ness level in be­tween. I would ab­so­lutely rec­om­mend this ride to any­one; just re­mem­ber to do a bit of train­ing be­fore the big day!

Q. How many par­tic­i­pants at­tend each year?

Last year we had 905 in­cred­i­ble rid­ers, who trained and fundraised in sup­port of the Perkins.

We also have crew mem­bers and vol­un­teers who help en­sure the event runs smoothly. There are plenty of ways to sup­port this fan­tas­tic event.

Q. How did the idea for the Maca Ride to con­quer cancer orig­i­nate?

The ride is in its sixth year.

MACA has been associated all of that time and has been a fan­tas­tic sup­porter of the event, in­tro­duc­ing a large num­ber of rid­ers.

Since 2013, MACA has con­tin­ued to raise more than $1 mil­lion each year. Their key sup­port of the event, as the ti­tle spon­sor, has been in­stru­men­tal in en­sur­ing its con­tin­ued suc­cess. MACA is a com­pany that has a real com­mit­ment to the com­mu­nity.

Its lead­er­ship as the ti­tle spon­sor of the Ride is an ex­pres­sion of how im­por­tant they see med­i­cal re­search as a key driver in im­prov­ing cancer sur­vival rates.

Q. How can peo­ple get in­volved?

Ob­tain­ing de­pend­able funds to sup­port pi­o­neer­ing cancer re­search at the Harry Perkins In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Re­search is ab­so­lutely cru­cial.

It’s vi­tal that Perkins has the ca­pac­ity to sup­port our pas­sion­ate, hard-work­ing re­searchers so that they can re­main in WA and de­liver break­throughs to ben­e­fit our com­mu­nity. Events like the MACA Ride to Con­quer Cancer of­fer a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to sup­port the in­cred­i­ble work of lo­cal med­i­cal re­searchers and their in­no­va­tive re­search projects. This event isn’t just for ath­letes or cy­cling en­thu­si­asts – it’s is an op­por­tu­nity for us to come to­gether as a com­mu­nity and sup­port the life­sav­ing med­i­cal re­search that will one day ben­e­fit our friends and fam­ily.

this year the ride is aim­ing to raise $4 mil­lion for cancer re­search.

harry Perkins in­sti­tute di­rec­tor Pro­fes­sor Peter leed­man.

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