After riding over 500km throughout October, Tumbarumba’s Alex Gollan has raised more than $1500 through the Great Cycle Challenge initiative, which raises money for the fight against children’s cancer.
The Great Cycle Challenge started in 2013, and after just seven years, the event has grown to become one of the biggest cycling events in Australia.
People of all ages, abilities and from every state across the country set themselves a personal riding goal and challenge themselves to pedal throughout October to fight kids’ cancer.
In the past seven years, the community of 63,826 riders from all six states and two territories have ridden a total of 13,341,418km, and together have raised $20,556,461 in support of research to develop better treatments and find a cure for childhood cancer.
Tumbarumba High School Year 10 student Alex Gollan participated in this year’s event and after setting himself a target of riding 500km, he rode 519km using the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail.
The 16-year-old described the experience as “fun” and “interesting”.
“It was a learning curve for me to get up the kilometres I needed to get to the challenge. I found at the start it was a bit hard – magpies were savage sometimes early on,” Alex laughed.
“But the more I rode, the easier it became.”
Alex said he was surprised to have raised so much money for the cause.
“I didn’t expect to raise so much money as a lot of people are struggling after the bushfires and with Covid,” he said.
“I am extremely grateful for people supporting me and people who sponsored me on this journey in the month of October. My brother Eric Barclay also rode with me although he was in Victoria, so we could never ride together so we talked about it all the time and he got sponsors as well.”
Alex said he feels extremely proud of himself for accomplishing his fundraising feat.
“I was shocked at the amount of support I got from other people and how much people donated,” he said.
“I felt really proud to be part of a team of riders as there were several people from Tumbarumba riding. Karl (McEachern) raised heaps of money for the kids. It just felt good.”
Alex’s mum, Donna Gollan, said she was very proud of Alex for taking part in the challenge.
“It was really important for him; it was lovely having both boys do the challenge because they supported each other and egged each other on,” Mrs Gollan said.
“The money raised is so important for families struggling with childhood cancer.
“I was really surprised at how much money he raised as I think these are really hard times and everybody has made lots of donations to everything else that’s going on in the world as well, so it was really lovely that there was so much support for this.”
Cancer is the largest killer of children from disease in Australia. Over 600 Australian children are diagnosed with cancer every year and sadly, three children die every week.
Great Cycle Challenge is a national Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) fundraising initiative held throughout the month of October.
CMRI has around 150 scientists and research students, working in teams that operates thirteen research units and world-leading expertise in four main areas of research: Cancer, Neurobiology, Embryology and Gene Therapy.