In late November, over 250 cyclists will take on Australia’s highest point to raise money for vital disability services.
The Hartley Lifecare Cycle Challenge, now in its 19th year, will see 22 teams of 12 cyclists and their support crews take a 450km return trip from Canberra to Mt Kosciuszko, in two stages over three days.
The event raises funds for Hartley’s disability programs and services, which support children and adults with complex disabilities in the ACT.
Hartley Lifecare CEO Eric Thauvette says the challenge is Hartley’s major annual fundraiser, with the goal this year to raise $550,000.
“The Cycle Challenge is a unique, annual event, critical to supporting the work of Hartley Lifecare. The Challenge also helps to raise awareness of people living with disability and funds raised from this event support our ongoing work in providing accommodation, respite and community programs,” he says.
“The riders’ participation in this event and their hard work and team effort towards raising funds makes a major contribution to enable Hartley to provide people with disability the opportunities to live their best life.”
Hartley currently supports approximately 25 people with a disability through respite care and has secured land from the ACT Government to build a new respite centre in Chapman, increasing the number of respite beds to four.
Cameron Smith, a client of Hartley Lifecare and this year’s Cycle Challenge Ambassador, receives 24-hour support from Hartley, living in a supported accommodation house with another client. Cameron has been fine-tuning his riding technique and will ride the last few kilometres of the Challenge with the cyclists (from stage one and stage two), leading them to the finish line.
Cameron’s mum, Fran Smith, says Cameron loves to ride his tricycle, and his family are incredibly proud of him representing Hartley as the challenge ambassador.
“Hartley Lifecare has provided Cameron with the support and the encouragement to follow his passion for riding his bike. Cycling has opened up a whole new life and [I am] so happy to see Cameron grow and develop his interests.”
Joining Cameron at the finish line after taking on the challenge will be Margaret Welsh, who has participated and volunteered with the challenge for many years. Margaret has been preparing for the ride with overall fitness training, as well as flat and hill cycling training.
“I am participating because it’s a way of helping to support people with disability to live the best life they can. It’s also a way of meeting like-minded people and it’s a great way to keep fit and meet personal goals.” The stage one riders will enter Canberra on Sunday 25 November, and the stage two riders will arrive on Monday 26 November. For more information or to donate, visit hartley.org.au/event/the-hartley-cycle-challenge