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'Smiling For Smiddy' Cyclists Arrive In Biloela

Cyclists standing outside the Mater Hospital in Townsville.  Image Supplied 

42 cyclists and road crew have passed through Biloela.

They are taking part in the14th annual 1600-kilometre Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge, in support of cancer research for the Mater Hospital.

The riders are on their way to Mater’s, South Brisbane campus where they will arrive on Saturday 31 August after passing through 32 towns and communities of Queensland raising funds and awareness in honour of triathlete Adam Smiddy who passed away from an aggressive melanoma in 2006, aged 26.

Mater Research Professor Brian Gabrielli will be participating in the ride for the second time to show his support and to pass on his thanks to the team who make his research possible.

“My work is predominantly in melanoma research, but the study can be applied to fighting a range of different cancers. We have had some fantastic breakthroughs in recent years but there is still much to do,” Professor Gabrielli said.

“I once had a patient who said to me “Diagnosis is Facts but Research is Hope” and that has always stayed with me. I am always looking to see how we can improve our research and give patients hope.”

Professor Gabrielli said the ride was a test of physical and mental endurance and it took the Smiling for Smiddy team some time to convince him to join up.

“I’m glad I did, one highlights for me is passing through some of these small towns where the whole population turns out to greet you,” Professor Gabrielli said.

“I swear in some of these towns the entire population turns out to see us, and locals even put us up in their homes for the night. We really appreciate the hospitality. You will find in many of these areas the people have a connection back to Mater.”

Mater Nurse Unit Manager Joe Gabriel will be participating in the ride for the first time this year to show his support for people impacted by cancer and raise awareness of melanoma.

“I have lost several relatives to cancer over the years and I also work very closely with people who are impacted by cancer. I thought this was one way I could show them my support and raise funds for vital research in this area,” Joe said.

“I am looking forward to connecting with communities along the way. When we pass through some of these towns we will be stopping off at schools to educate children on being sun smart as we always believe prevention is better than cure.”

Smiling for Smiddy was founded by Mark ‘Sharky’ Smoothy, to honour his friend Adam Smiddy.

“Smiddy riders are like a family and together we ride in memory of our mate Adam and for all people touched by cancer, now and in the future,” Mark said.

“We can’t thank the Biloela community enough for supporting us each year and helping us push the limits to raise more funds for cancer research at Mater.”

Since 2006, Smiling for Smiddy has raised close to $10 million for world-class research projects at Mater Research in areas of melanoma, prostate, breast and ovarian cancers.

Along the nine day ride through country Queensland, riders will stop off at towns including, Mundubbera, Biloela, Baralaba, Blackwater, Clermont, Belyando Crossing and Charters Towers before finishing at Mater, South Brisbane.

To find out more or donate visit https://mater.li/SmilingforSmiddy