|I hoped that the average 30 kilometre training rides from Centennial Park to La Perouse or Watsons Bay in Sydney had prepared me well for the event. This wasn’t to be as I felt pretty sick for the last half of the ride. But the scenery was beautiful along Lake Hume especially the lush wooded valley before the only steep climb, as was the view from the dam wall crossing.
The two rider reviver stops were like an oasis in the desert, with piles of fruit cake, muesli bars and watermelon slices, all for free. There was also plenty of support on the ride from fellow cyclists, volunteers, first aiders and marshals.
Colin asked me what was the best part of the ride: ‘definitely riding under the finish arch, knowing it was over’. Which took me four hours to accomplish.
After partaking in the free sausage sizzle, with gourmet coleslaw and gluten free bread, I immediately felt better. Having a few floats in the Murray River and a sun bake on the grassy banks in leafy Memorial Park with a brewed chai latte from adjacent cafe, was the perfect recovery.
At the post ride dinner prepared by Colin’s wife Anne, a delicious beef casserole, with home grown vegetables, freshly baked lemon meringue pie and preserved peaches, I learnt what my $60 entry fee would contribute to.
This is good value if you compare to shorter races in Sydney, such as ocean swims, which often are the same price, you only receive a price of fruit and the fees don’t always go to charity.
The major beneficiary of the approximately $20,000 raised, the ‘Wellness Centre’, will provide support services and complementary therapies, such as cancer support groups, massage and exercise therapy (yoga and tai chi), nutrition and diet advice, meditation and counselling.
These services are designed to help patients remain positive, gain a sense of control and feel supported along with practical strategies integrated with the Regional Centre’s conventional cancer care.
Chairperson of the LHCC, Stuart Lucas, said that the Albury Centre, to be opened in July this year, will be among 10 Regional Cancer Centres across the country. Funds were pledged by the Federal Government in 2009, to redress the disadvantages people in regional areas living with cancer experience, such as a shorter life and a greater chance of dying from cancer.1
From the announcement of the funding, CEO of Cancer Council Australia, Professor Ian Olver, said people in regional and rural areas generally experienced inferior cancer care outcomes compared with those in metropolitan centres and that the best way to reduce the inequity was to bring services closer to patients.2
Stuart said that often people living in the Albury region undertake more aggressive treatment as they can’t afford the time and expense of travelling to Melbourne for regular care, a factor leading to higher mortality rates. In 2008-2012, mortality rates from cancer were highest for people living in remote and very remote areas.3
Colin said that the Centre will be ‘an immense benefit to many families in our region’.
“The tyranny of long distance travel while dealing with cancer is an extra load on families trying to cope with a dire adversary.”