Riding for cancer charity
A bicycle and a cyclist who share the same venerable vintage are travelling the country for a good cause.
John Smithies, 72, is riding the length of New Zealand on a rusty 1940s three- speed bike to raise awareness of blood cancer lymphoma.
He is heading through Waikato, including Tirau this week.
Hailing from Lake Ohau in the Mackenzie Basin, Mr Smithies is taking up the challenge in memory of his wife Alison, who died from nonHodgkin lymphoma in 2011.
He is aiming to educate people about lymphoma, the most common form of blood cancer – two New Zealanders are diagnosed with it every day – and raise funds for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand as he makes his way down the country. He found the bike at a Christchurch demolition site.
‘‘It was a bit of a eureka moment. I’d been thinking about taking this journey and had been wondering how to when I found it.
‘‘I thought an old bugger on an old bike might be the way to go.’’
People can support Mr Smithies’ efforts through his fundraising page, leukaemia.org.nz/view-event-profile/ 2513.