A Ride With Heart

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Hundreds of keen bike riders took to the road from September 29 to October 1 raising funds for the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation’s annual Cardiac Challenge.


By Andrea Falvo

Three hundred and fifty riders battled the fiery heat of Far North Queensland, riding 335 kilometres from Cairns to Cooktown, raising funds for the Cairns Base Hospital’s Cardiology department.

The fifth annual event attracted enthusiastic riders aged 10 to 75 from all over the state.

Cairns Private Hospital cardiologist, Doctor Greg Starmer, participated in this year’s ride for the first time and said he believed the benefits from the Cardiac Challenge would be felt by the whole district.

“The Cardiac Challenge benefits the whole community and it’s so great to see so many people be part of it,” Dr Starmer said.

“It is touching that so many people participated and everyone for different reasons.

“For some, it was a personal challenge and others to support a family member or friend.

“It’s amazing that a person will actually live from all of this, the fundraising from this event will save lives and I think that is so great,” he said.

This year, $32,1410 was raised which will help grow the hospital’s services to ensure the availability of superior cardiac services in the Far North.

The riders had two overnight stops, at Mt Carbine and Lakeland, where they rested up for long days on the road.

Riders split into 13 different groups according to their riding ability and were followed by support vehicles.

Cardiac Challenge fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe participated in the ride in 2007 but has remained heavily involved with the event and said it was great to see the ride grow each year.

“So many people participate; good riders, people trying to live a healthy lifestyle and first timers wanting to have a go – it is a life changing experience,” Ms Duncombe said.

“Day two would have to be the biggest leg for the riders with lots of steep hills, but the feeling of accomplishment once you reach Cooktown is so great,” she said.

“The Army, Navy and SES services are a great support to the Cardiac Challenge driving support cars and assisting throughout the weekend.

“IGA provided us with all the breakfast and lunch food and has been a great sponsor over the years.”

Now in its fifth year, the Cardiac Challenge has raised a total of $1 million.

To register for the 2013 Cardiac Challenge or to donate, visit www.cardiacchallenge.com.au