The Ride To Conquer Cancer is a two-day, 200-kilometre bike ride around Sydney, supporting the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Since 2012, the ride has raised over $13.4 million - funding cancer research, clinical trials, and support services and equipment for in-patient care. A sizable chunk of that was down to us!
We took to the event with gusto - raising $500,000 over four years. Team captain David O'Connor was the largest individual fundraiser in the event for the last two years. Our 2014 effort of $253,000 remains the highest by an independent team. David, (also Diona GM) saw and opportunity to help a good cause and to lead by example, promoting exercise as a way to good mental and physical health.
But over 200 kilometres? Riding for two whole days? That's more than most of us ever imagined doing - most of us hadn't even looked at a bike in years. But the grit and determination shown by our riders and crew was astonishing. We dusted off our bikes, or in many cases bought our first adult bike, and knuckled down for what would be an emotional and hugely rewarding journey. We trained hard, both individually and during regular team rides, and supported each other through many of the challenges that came along, such as riding safely in traffic and of course 'those bloody cleats'. We completed some team rides of over 100 kilometres, and that really galvanised the confidence amongst the team that we could do this. Now, after four extraordinary years, we know we can!
We have been there every year of the ride. It started in 2012 when Diona foreman Ken Stafford signed up, and invited his colleagues to join him. Diona sponsored them of course.
In 2013 a bigger group took to the road as Team Ireland - thirteen enthusiastic riders dressed in green, proudly sporting the Diona logo.
In 2014, our major sponsor, Megatilt Heavy Haulage, came on board, and we rode in their yellow and purple. Our numbers swelled to 45 - making us the largest team in the event. A contingent of Diona staff even travelled from Queensland to ride.
This year we were fewer in number but no less determined. We welcomed some new riders, and Megatilt backed us again. We left Olympic Park at sunrise on a fine spring morning, and made it all the way to Windsor that night. The next day we returned triumphantly to Homebush, a little sore of course, but fitter and stronger for the effort.
And that was the final ride. After four years the organisers are calling it a day. But watch this space, because we aren’t standing still. So many causes need a hand, and we have some big ideas in the pipeline!
Thanks to all our riders, and everyone who supported us along the way. And a huge thankyou to all our sponsors over the four year campaign - you helped us achieve something amazing.
2015 Primary Sponsor
Megatilt Heavy Haulage
2015 Other Major Sponsors (over $1000)
Arthur J Gallagher
Moody Kiddell & Partners
and of course … Diona!