Courtney's Quest: Cycling tour will raise funds and educate

The Bendigo Advertiser is continuing Courtney's Quest, with the aim of finding 1532 new organ donors in four weeks. 

A TEAM of organ donor recipients, nurses and donation ambassadors will cycle across the state to raise money and educate communities on the reality of organ donation. 

The Tour de Transplant will hit Bendigo this weekend, with 25 people visiting regional Victorian towns to share stories and foster understanding. 

Heart and Lung Transplant vice president Louisa Walsh - an organ recipient herself - said recipients were faced with an overwhelming reality in the transplant aftermath, with the ride helping to raise money to ease the burden. 

All funds will go towards the Second Chance Accommodation Program - a place for heart and lung transplant patients to call home while they receive treatment. 

"It can be really expensive prospect because they have to stay near the Alfred Hospital for three months after the transplant," she said. 

"We currently have three subsidised rooms nearby to help with costs a but we need eight to meet demand. 

Riders will raise money and host education sessions about organ and tissue donation.

The cyclists will travel 1100 kilometres to acknowledge 1100 Victorians who have received heart and lungs since transplants began at The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne in 1989. 

The nine-day trek will go from Melbourne to Geelong, to Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, to the border at Albury, over the Victorian Alps to Gippsland before the final stretch back to Melbourne.

Ms Walsh said the route included places that were home to many transplant beneficiaries. 

"The reality is that organ recipients think about our donors every day," she said. 

"Now we're doing what we can to educate the many communities who have been touched by organ donation."

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