Proserpine saddles up for epic Tour de Cure event
WHEN Janelle "Woody" Eastwood and Shona Russell visited St Catherine's Catholic College in Proserpine this week, they were reminded why they signed up for Tour de Cure.
"We asked everyone, 'who has a bike?' and about half the group raised their hands," Ms Eastwood said.
"Then we asked, 'who knows what cancer is?' and every hand in the room went up."
For the last four years these two Whitsunday women have been cycling thousands of kilometres and raising about $40,000 a year in the name of cancer research in search of a cure.
This weekend the people of Proserpine are invited to saddle up for that ride.
At 10am on Saturday, Australia's best-known cycling event outside professional racing will pull off the Bruce Highway at the Proserpine Museum.
Following a short welcome and morning tea, the roughly 160 riders, with a Channel Seven television crew in tow, will make their way to Proserpine's Main St.
Here, 24 local school children will join the ride from Pioneer Park.
Among them will be eight-year-old Connor Howse, who is currently in remission from cancer and whose story has touched a community's hearts.
"To see a child as young as Connor with cancer is heart-breaking," Ms Russell said.
For Channel Seven's Sunrise sports presenter Mark Beretta, children like Connor are the reason for joining Tour de Cure.
"For me personally, I find kids' cancers very hard to accept so that's probably my driving force," he said.
After leaving their star school guests at the entertainment centre, the riders will make their way to Proserpine Dam, where 10-time Australian water ski champion Beretta is looking forward to meeting some of the region's best-known water sports and fishing enthusiasts.
The Tour will then depart Proserpine for Airlie Beach, leaving the town a winner thanks to a $10,000 donation to Proserpine Hospital.
Proserpine Hospital director of nursing Nicola Young said the welcome donation would be used to enhance the care and comfort of oncology patients and their support teams.
The hospital has earmarked the funding to buy two comfortable chairs and two vital signs monitors.
"At the moment we are using monitors from the ward so we are looking forward to having dedicated oncology monitors," Ms Young said.
Proserpine Chamber of Commerce secretary Karen Vloedmans said it was both a great opportunity and a privilege to welcome the Tour de Cure to town.
"It is an honour to have them ride through," she said.
"We just encourage everyone to come down, show their support and give them a warm welcome."
PROSSIE ON TOUR
- WHAT: Tour de Cure
- WHERE: Proserpine's Main St
- WHEN: Saturday, April 28, 10.30am
- MORE INFO: www.facebook.com/ woodyandshona
- TO DONATE: BSB 084-501, acc 242447470