Ride to conquer cancer
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.