Tour de Cure Australia reached a major milestone today when they announced on live television from Jindabyne they had hit the $50 million-dollar mark in its 12-years of fundraising for cancer research, prevention and support.
Currently on its 13th Signature Tour, the team began their day in chilly conditions on the foreshore of Lake Jindabyne at Banjo Paterson Park with several live crosses to the Channel 7’s Sunrise show.
It was unfortunate one cloud had them submersed in fog while they had breakfast, but the riders soon found sunshine and a great view of Lake Jindabyne as they set off on their leg to Corryong, part of their nine-day, 1400km journey from Sydney to Geelong (3-11 May 2019).
“We’re very excited that we’ve just gone past $50million and it’s hard to think that 12 years ago a small group of people got together with a dream to raise $2million dollars in four years. You add more amazing people into the mix, you bring in corporates that share the journey, you enrol communities and here we are and I’m absolutely proud as punch,” Tour de Cure Australia co-founder Geoff Coombes reflected on the years since embarking on the first Tour de Cure in 2007.
“Cancer is formidable. We need more money; the researchers are doing great work, but they just need funds. They have brilliant ideas and the progress that has been made in the last decade is incredible and I think the progress in the next decade is going to be leaps and bounds. I want my children not to have to worry about cancer and we are on the right way but we need to do more,” Geoff Coombes said about the goals ahead.
Tour de Cure Australia started in 2007 and since then has now raised over $50million, funded 425 cancer projects, contributed to over 26 cancer advances or breakthroughs, and talked to over 120,000 school children about making healthy lifestyle decisions.
Amongst the passionate group of people, who have been supporting Tour de Cure for the past decade is Channel 7’s Sunrise host Mark Beretta, who is one of seven Tour de Cure Board Members and is part of Tour de Cure’s Signature Tour for the tenth consecutive year.
In recognition of Beretta’s ongoing dedication to Tour de Cure, the final destination of this year’s Signature Tour is Geelong, Beretta’s hometown.
“This is massive news today. I’m so excited and 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 now officially raised $50 million for cancer research, prevention and support. That is an unthinkable milestone and it’s only possible thanks to the generosity of Australians and all our riders, our team, our support crew, their families and their friends who have sponsored them over the years,” Mark Beretta said.
“The $50million dollars keep Australian researchers working at the forefront of cancer research and that’s rare cancers, cancers that often don’t get a lot of attention and that money is helping them getting their first steps of their research up and going. And once they become big, they get better funding from bigger sources, but we really help that grassroots level of research and we are so proud to do that, because that’s where some incredible breakthroughs come from,” Beretta added.
“50-million is a major milestone and we will celebrate that. That’s something for everyone to celebrate across Australia who has been on board with Tour de Cure and that is tens of thousands of Australians. Thank you so much for everyone’s support and we can all just take a moment and reflect on how important and how significant that is. But we are not done. We have a long way to go with research and with our Tour De Cure ride this year, so please keep supporting the riders. Families, friends, sponsors, get behind this event and let’s make a really big difference. Let’s be the nation that finds the cures for cancer. How great would that be.”
Berreta said his legs are not good and he struggles every time on the ride.
“It’s extraordinary you are not meant to do this and I think everyone feels the same, there is no easy way to get through it, when you are talking about close to a couple of hundred kilometres a day, and the climbing we are doing to get to here it’s really gruelling. It is painful but it’s very little pain compared to what people who are being treated for cancer are going through and we keep that in mind when we are moaning and groaning that there are people who are doing it a lot tougher.
“I have ridden it (Snowy Mountains) three times on this event and loved it. It’s a privilege actually to be able to ride through here. I have only done it three times in my life and every time I’ve got special memories, it is so beautiful and the tranquillity and the untouched nature and how peaceful it is, I could live here tomorrow,” said Berreta.
Thredbo’s Stuart Diver was on hand to ride with Beretta and his group from Jindabyne to Thredbo and he said he it was looking like an awesome day and it should be fun on the road with the crew.
“They have obviously had a few solid days on the road and going all the way to Khancoban, so I will just do the little bit in the middle,” said Stuart Diver.
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. On each overnight stop on the 2019 Signature Tour, Tour de Cure is donating $10,000 to local cancer projects, illustrating the impact that this has on people affected by cancer in regional communities.
The nine communities along the way of Sydney, Kiama, Goulburn, Canberra, Jindabyne, Corryong, Beechworth, Shepparton and Daylesford are presented with a $10,000 donation each for their selected local cancer projects.
Raising awareness that 1 in 3 cancers are preventable also is a key focus for Tour de Cure and the Signature Tour team is visiting local primary schools along the way to educate more than 3,000 children through Tour de Cure’s Be Fit, Be Healthy, Be Happy program, that by making simple, healthy lifestyle choices, they can reduce their cancer risk.
Tony “Plugger” Lockett (AFL), James Tobin (7 Sunrise), Jens Voigt (ex-Tour de France Rider) and Darren Mara (SBS News) are amongst the 200-strong team raising funds to end cancer.
The Tour fundraising goal is $2.5million for this ride and over $10million for Tour de Cure in 2019.
During the nine days the 200 riders and support crew negotiate 16,238 of elevation on their 1400km journey and it is Mark Beretta’s 10th ride.
To find out more about Tour de Cure’s work, sign up for a tour or an event, or make a tax deductable donation go to tourdecure.com.au