Firefighters around the country will trade in fire engines for motorbikes at the end of this month, travelling the length of the country for the inaugural Ride for Cancer charity fundraiser for the Cancer Society of New Zealand.
The epic 5-day ride will cover over 2041 kilometres as the firefighters travel by motorbike from Invercargill to Whangarei from November 27 to 1 December. An estimated 150 riders will take part in the national event, which is in honour of close friends and colleagues from the New Zealand Fire Service who have been tragically lost to cancer.
The riders hope to raise valuable funds for the Cancer Society of New Zealand to help with research into the illness which affects one in three Kiwis every year.
The organisers are encouraging people to jump on board to take part. Anyone with a motorbike or scooter is welcome to join at any stage of the ride, whether it is just one leg or the whole journey. The Ride for Cancer organisers have already received great feedback from firefighters and individual brigades as well as a number of motorcycle clubs and groups around the country who want to be involved.
Even kiwi Olympic rowing gold medalist Mahe Drysdale, NZ’s Got Talent Judge Rachel Hunter, music icon Dave Dobbyn and host of others have offered to help raise money. They have all signed a new limited edition New Zealand Fire Service helmet that will be auctioned off to raise funds for Ride for Cancer.
The event is the brainchild of west Auckland firefighter Rob Appleton who championed the idea after attending the third funeral of a colleague in just over a year.
"I decided there had to be some way that we as firefighters and as an organisation could help to raise awareness and money to help our communities fight this terrible disease."
A motorbike ride seemed like an ideal fit. There are a lot motorbike riders in the fire service and even a dedicated firefighter motorcycle club called 'The Red Knights'. The national itinerary was planned so that firefighters around the country could come together to help support the cause.
"We wanted to work with the Cancer Society of New Zealand, because we want the funds raised to benefit the entire nation, not just a specific group or area of the country. The Cancer Society of New Zealand provides support, information, and research that benefits everyone effected by cancer."
As well as raising valuable research funding, as the riders travel through the country they hope to raise awareness of the importance of early detection.
"We believe it’s really important to encourage men to get checked, as well as women," says Rob. "If staunch firefighters can go and get our health checks why can’t others? Nobody is too tough to monitor their health."
Great Kiwi hospitality is also shining through, says Rob. "We’ve already been offered use of a holiday home in Taupo for the night there and have a BBQ organised for our stop in Nelson."
To get involved or make a donation visit www.rideforcancer.org.nz
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