Bendigo set to raise $10,000 for Tour de Transplant

THE Bendigo branch of the Tour de Transplant is on track to raise $10,000 for the Heart and Lung Transplant Trust.

Tour de Transplant Bendigo ambassador Penny Davies said people in Bendigo had been very supportive of the cause, both in kind and cash.

"The community's been fantastic, which says so much about the Bendigo people," Ms Davies said.

She said she was confident Bendigo would meet its $10,000 target.

The tour involves a team of organ donor recipients, nurses and ambassadors cycling 1100 kilometres across the state over nine days to raise money and awareness.

They will arrive in Bendigo on Sunday afternoon about 4pm and attend a fundraising dinner at the Foundry Hotel Complex at 6.30pm.

All proceeds they make will go to the Second Chance Accommodation Program, which funds rental apartments close to the Alfred Hospital.

Ms Davies said heart and lung transplant recipients had to live in close proximity to their treating hospital for three months after receiving their new organ, as they required daily medical procedures and assessments.

Ms Davies said she had first-hand experience of the significant financial burden this places on rural transplant patients, as her son Justin had two double lung transplants, in 1995 and 2007 and they had to shoulder the costs of his city accommodation.

But while rural families previously had to find accommodation themselves and pay for the associated costs, in 2012 the trust established the Second Chance Accommodation Program.

The program allows recipients and their carers to live in apartments in the city for just $15 a day, as they physically and emotionally recover from their traumatic ordeal.

Tragically, Ms Davies' son Justin died in 2007 aged 37, but Ms Davies and her husband Cled are supporting the ride in his honour.

"Justin had two passions; raising organ donor awareness and cycling," Ms Davies said.

She also said that a number of people from the Bendigo region had been able to make use of the program.

She said the money raised from Bendigo would pay for four rental apartments over three months.

Tickets to the dinner are still available. 

To buy a ticket, please go to: tourdetransplant-bendigo.gofundraise.com.au.

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