Ride raises $40,000 for can­cer re­search

Central Leader - - NEWS - By VANITA PRASAD

Fire­fight­ers and mo­tor­cy­clists who donned their leathers to ride up the coun­try raised $40,000 for can­cer re­search.

More than 300 rid­ers par­tic­i­pated in the Fire­fight­ers Ride for Can­cer event which left In­ver­cargill last month be­fore mak­ing their way up to Whangarei and fin­ish­ing in Auck­land on De­cem­ber 1.

Bal­moral fire­fighter Rob Ap­ple­ton or­gan­ised the event af­ter three col­leagues died of can­cer ( Cen­tral Leader, Oc­to­ber 19).

Mr Ap­ple­ton was over­whelmed and hum­bled by the sup­port shown to the cause.

‘‘It turned out bet­ter than I could have hoped really, the re­cep­tion we got on the ride just blew me away,’’ he says.

‘‘Peo­ple who’d seen us in the me­dia came out with cook­ing, bak­ing and of­fers of places to stay.’’

Mr Ap­ple­ton, who rode the North Is­land leg of the ride, says de­spite a driz­zly start the rid­ers were treated to beau­ti­ful weather.

‘‘I ac­tu­ally ended up get­ting pretty sun­burnt, the weather was great.’’

He says along the ride many peo­ple shared their sto­ries of how can­cer had af­fected them or some­one in their lives.

‘‘In Taupo, I talked to a fire­fighter who was on light du­ties be­cause he was go­ing through chemo­ther­apy. Ev­ery­one’s known some­one who’s had or is bat­tling can­cer.’’

Can­cer So­ci­ety of New Zealand na­tional devel­op­ment man­ager Philip Hope also took part in the ride and says the char­ity is thrilled with the success of the event.

‘‘For year one this was a tremen­dous re­sult. There were rid­ers from all around the coun­try par­tic­i­pat­ing.’’

Mr Hope says the money will go to the Can­cer So­ci­ety so­cial and be­havioural re­search unit at Otago Univer­sity which is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the so­cial, be­havioural and spir­i­tual way that can­cer af­fects suf­fer­ers and their fam­i­lies.

He says Mr Ap­ple­ton’s work in start­ing the ride was ad­mirable.

‘‘He’s done a stir­ling job. He started off as a lone ranger and got it off the ground with the sup­port from his col­leagues in the Fire Ser­vice.’’

Mr Ap­ple­ton says the rid­ers who took part this year are very keen to make it an an­nual event.

‘‘So I’ll be tak­ing a month off and prob­a­bly start plan­ning the next one.’’

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