Bikers go pink for charity cancer ride
‘‘You're fighting something that is very real, but that you don't fully understand what your body is going through.’’
Two-time cancer survivor Lea Lavery hopped on a motorbike for the first time in nearly a year on Sunday, after what she described as ‘‘a tough ride’’.
She and her partner Chris Riddelrode in the annual Wellington Pink Ribbon Ride from Petone to Raumati Beach, organised by the Women’s International Motorcycle Association’s to raise awareness and funds for the Breast Cancer Foundation.
Riding their custom 1987 Harley-Davidson Sportster, they joined a convoy of about 250 ‘‘pinked out’’ motorbikes, ranging from 50cc scooters to 2000cc cruisers.
Lavery first overcame the disease nearly 25 years ago after being diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Then, in late 2012, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She endured a mastectomy, nine months of chemotherapy and daily radiotherapy, followed by a breast reconstruction.
However, it was not cancer but two brain bleeds last January that kept her off the bike for nearly a year.
It was a ‘‘tough ride’’, she said. ‘‘You’re fighting something that is very real, but that you don’t fully understand what your body is going through. Your emotions are all over the place.’’
Cancer-free now for nearly four years, she said she was certainly looking forward to the fiveyear milestone late next year, at which time a ‘‘big party’’ would be held, with numbers buoyed by fel- low members of the Paraparaumu-based Twin Cam Motorcycles Social Club.
Sunday’s event was the 14th anniversary of the Wellington Pink Ribbon Ride, with the num- ber of participating bikes growing from just 20 to about 300 in recent years.
Co-ordinating team member Viv Green said Sunday morning’s wet weather would probably have kept away some, but there was still an ‘‘amazing display of camaraderie and support’’.
‘‘People come from all around the region, often because of their own connection to this disease.’’
Since the inaugural ride in 2004, Women’s International Motorcycle Association (WIMA) had raised more than $100,000 for Breast Cancer Foundation NZ through its Auckland and Wellington events.
Sunday’s Wellington riders raised just over $4000 on the day.
Foundation chief executive Evangelia Henderson said it was one of her favourite events.
‘‘It always creates such an amazing atmosphere that brings together women, men and families. We so appreciate the money and awareness WIMA raises for us each year.’’
Cancer survivor Lea Lavery rode pillion with partner Chris Riddel during the Pink Ribbon Ride. Lea Lavery