John’s long ride for boy lost to can­cer

Trip around Aus­tralia has raised more than $10,000

Campaspe News - - NEWS - By DAVID RAK

JOHN Buchanan cir­cum­nav­i­gated Aus­tralia as a trib­ute to a friend’s grand­son and along the way raised more than $10,000 for the Chil­dren’s Can­cer and Leukaemia Re­search Foun­da­tion.

He was deeply im­pacted by the loss of such a young life and de­cided he had to do some­thing to help.

John wasn’t sure how he would help, but after learning two chil­dren a week were di­ag­nosed with can­cer in Aus­tralia, he be­came even more de­ter­mined.

“This boy was di­ag­nosed with leukaemia after his fourth birth­day and never made five. That had a ma­jor im­pact on me,” John said.

“It brought a lump in the throat and I started to read about how many peo­ple can­cer af­fects.

‘‘I’m re­tired so I had plenty of time to pitch in and help out.”

John was born and bred in Rochester but left life as a farmer in 1990 when he moved to WA to work in the min­ing in­dus­try.

He set an am­bi­tious goal of rid­ing his vin­tage 1979 XS650 Yamaha mo­tor­bike around Aus­tra- lia, rais­ing money and aware­ness for can­cer re­search.

After many hours of work on the bike, John set off in June trekking anti-clockwise around the coun­try and vis­it­ing ev­ery state.

“I de­cided on the mo­tor­bike be­cause it was re­li­able, and I’ve owned it for 20 years,” John said.

Be­fore leav­ing, John ap­proached lo­cal busi­nesses and had a great re­sponse. Spec­savers Ar­madale be­came a ma­jor spon­sor, donat­ing a por­tion of ev­ery pair of glasses sold in their store dur­ing a three-month pe­riod.

The seven-week jour­ney started at John’s home in Bed­fordale, WA with a sup­port ve­hi­cle driven by his wife, Carol.

John and Carol rat­tled tins in most ma­jor coun­try towns along their route, with most col­lect­ing done in front of Wool­worths or Coles.

“Un­for­tu­nately, we had a few prob­lems with the bike and de­cided to put it on the truck at Dar­win,” John said.

“It wasn’t a big deal be­cause we never set out to break any records and make head­lines on the bike.

‘‘It was all about the fundrais­ing.”

John said he was amazed by the sheer num­ber of peo­ple who had their own can­cer sto­ries and were will­ing to pitch in.

“It made us feel like we were do­ing some­thing to help and made the whole trip worth­while,’’ he said.

“Having never done any­thing like this be­fore, I’m pleased with what we did.

‘‘I didn’t know what to ex­pect and I’m very pleased to raise that much.

“I couldn’t have done it without my wife and the var­i­ous other peo­ple who helped me out along the way.”

Now safely home, John is plan­ning a few trips around lo­cal coun­try ar­eas to fin­ish off the fundrais­ing ef­fort.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit face­book.com/John­sAussieJour­ney and to do­nate, visit john­sjour­ney.ev­ery­day­hero.com/au/john-s-jour­ney-for-kids-with-can­cer

John Buchanan was born and raised in Rochester.

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