Tour de Cure’s 2022 Signature Tour wraps up this weekend, with 100 cyclists having racked up 1445 km riding to Canberra from Geelong via Bendigo, Albury, Wagga Wagga and Goulburn.
The annual cycle takes place every year, with ordinary Australians strapping on their helmets and training extensively to join the multi-day tour, raising awareness and much-needed funds for cancer research.
Tour de Cure Signature Tour content manager Sally Heginbotham said 2022 was their biggest cycling event to date, with 100 riders participating and more than 50 people involved in the support crew.
“[The Signature Tour] is a beautiful opportunity to make sure that the regional communities are supported,” Sally said.
“We’ve been running since 2007. So far we have raised in excess of $70 million and we have funded 563 cancer research projects.”
The Tour de Cure aims to raise $2 million through participants’ individual fundraising over 12 months.
To be COVID-safe this year, the event was divided into two teams. This Saturday marks day nine of the tour, where both teams will unite to complete the last 136 km of their journey from Goulburn to Canberra.
Sally said each rider on tour needs to raise $12,000 individually and each supporter not only volunteers their time, but also fundraises more than $3000 individually.
“We have already raised over $1.6 million just from this year’s Signature Tour,” she said.
All proceeds raised will go towards funding cancer research, support and prevention projects throughout Australia, along with funding nine different cancer grants of $10,000 that will be handed out to some of the local communities the riders passed through.
“Normally we’d have a community dinner every night on tour where we’d invite the charities and organisations and present them with the $10,000 local cancer grants, but this year we had to be extra COVID-safe … so we didn’t do the dinners,” Sally said.
Instead, the riders went out and spoke to the grant recipients.
“We want to make sure we are supporting our regional communities and understanding the difficulties that we can’t diagnose and we’ve given out $80,000 already as we’ve travelled along,” Sally said.
She added that Goulburn would be receiving a grant towards the Convoy For Kids charity organisation this weekend, to support local children with cancer, terminal illness and permanent disabilities.
The youngest rider in this year’s Signature Tour is 18 and the oldest is 67.
“Alani Cockshutt turned 18 about a week ago,” Sally said. “She is a gun cyclist and cancer survivor who had cancer when she was four and is currently riding the harder route for every day of this year’s Tour.”
Alongside the Signature Tour, Sally said the Tour de Cure holds bike rides, walks, gala events and runs throughout the year to fundraise for cancer research across Australia, particularly in local communities.
The Tour will be taking off from Belmore Park in Goulburn on Saturday from 7 am, leading to the final destination in Canberra. To donate to Tour de Cure and find out more, go to their website.