Cure team rides into Heathcote

By Vanessa Wiltshire

AFTER 1400 kilometres, nine days and 16,238 metres of hills, the 2019 Signature Tour de Cure team have finally reached their destination.

Barrack Reserve and Heathcote Primary School were two of their stops, as part of their last leg to Daylesford, and then Geelong.

The team of over 200 riders and support team left Sydney’s Martin Place on Friday, May 3, and passed through Heathcote just a week later.

Tour de Cure is passionate about helping people who are touched by cancer, particularly individuals and families in regional communities where care and support for cancer patients is limited. Raising awareness that one in three cancers are preventable also is a key focus for Tour de Cure and the 2019 Signature Tour team, which has visited local primary schools. More than 3,000 children heard the Tour de Cure message — Be Fit, Be Healthy, Be Happy — and that by making simple, healthy lifestyle choices, we can all reduce our cancer risk.

At Barrack Reserve, riders thawed out over hot drinks and lunch prepared by members of the support crew. A small group of curious locals and passers-by watched on, eager to spy well-known crew members: Tony “Plugger” Lockett, Channel 7’s Sunrise host Mark Beretta, Channel 7 weatherman James Tobin, and reporter and SBS World News presenter Darren Mara.

Brad Todd, owner of Todd Property and a board member of Heathcote and District Community Bank, managed to snag a photo with Mark Beretta, before members of the Tour team rode to the primary school.

Principal of Heathcote Primary School Kate Ballantyne said that the riders and crew members received a warm welcome from students and staff.

“It’s lovely that the Tour de Cure chose to visit us,” Ms Ballantyne said. “Their message of ‘be fit, healthy and happy’ is important. Not just for kids but for the whole population.

“It’s great that the children had a chance to see people who are actively out and doing something.

“The way the Tour members interacted with our students was great. Their presentation was interactive, and the team was very approachable.”

Mr Beretta said: ‘‘It’s amazing what a small group of people can achieve when they put their shoulder to the wheel.

‘‘Since its inception 13 years ago, Tour de Cure has raised $50 million and $10 million in 2019 alone for cancer research, prevention and support.

‘‘These are unthinkable milestones that have only been possible thanks to the generosity of tens of thousands of Australians and all our riders, our team, our support crew, their families and their friends who have sponsored them over the years.

“Thank you for the support, but we are not done. We have a long way to go with research, so please keep supporting the riders. Families, friends, sponsors, get behind this event and Tour de Cure and let’s make a really big difference. Let’s be the nation that finds the cures for cancer. How great would that be.”

The nine communities along the way — Sydney, Kiama, Goulburn, Canberra, Jindabyne, Corryong, Beechworth, Shepparton and Daylesford — were presented with a $10,000 donation each for their selected local cancer projects.

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