Rid­ing for can­cer char­ity

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

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.

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