Cycling for cancer awareness
Two men will put their mettle to the pedals and keep their families at the front of their minds when they tackle a 645 kilometre cycle ride from Auckland to Porirua later this month.
The Uso Bike Ride is the brainchild of Chris Te’o, who will ride in honour of his father, who died from pancreatic cancer in 2009, and to raise health awareness amongst Pacific Island men.
‘‘Uso’’ is Samoan for ‘‘brother’’, and joining him on the challenge is his brother-in-law Mark Lerwill, for whom the ride will also bear personal significance – his wife Ngaire is undergoing chemotherapy.
The pair will depart Auckland on Saturday, February 26 and plan to reach Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua on March 5.
Mr Te’o – who was born in Porirua – was preparing for the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge when his father died. He subsequently pulled out of the event and has devised his own two-wheeled pursuit, both as a tribute and an awareness drive.
‘‘Cancer statistics for Pacific peoples are concerning and [lack of] healthcare has much to do with that,’’ he says.
Chris Te’o and Mark Lerwill will cycle from Auckland to Porirua in honour of their families and to raise cancer awareness amongst Pacific Island men.
The men will be sponsored by Avanti Plus Porirua and supported by PIC Porirua – where Mr Te’o’s father was a deacon for many years – Spacific PR Ltd, The Cancer Society and Pacific Island churches throughout the North Island, several of which will be stopping points along the trek.
Florence Faumuina-Aiono, from Spacific PR Ltd, says that the initiative has many ‘‘gems’’ for Pacific men.
‘‘It taps into the positive aspects of Pacific culture to send a clear message of unity from our men and for our men.’’
Cancer Society chief executive Dalton Kelly says the organisation warmly supports Mr Te’o and Mr Lerwill’s journey and is grateful for the work they’re doing to help raise cancer awareness amongst the Pacific community.
The cycle challenge will be documented on film to develop resources for Pacific communities.