Ride raises $40,000 for cancer research
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.’’