A group of cyclists are pedalling their way more than 1200 kilometres from Mildura to Melbourne, via Bendigo, to raise vital funds for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.The group includes Bendigo cyclists Jo Lythgo and Peter Carr, as well as former WIN Television and now Nine News presenter Clint Stanaway.
The 11 riders left Mildura this morning as part of the Silver Lining Ride, and will pedal their way along the Murray towards Wangaratta and Shepparton, before arriving in Bendigo on Thursday, November 25.
Ms Lythgo says she is riding in memory of an aunty lost to ovarian cancer 12 years ago.
"When she died from ovarian cancer, nobody talked about the disease, nobody knew much about it," she said.
"The fact that nobody speaks about it and it's so prevalent in women and it kills them so quickly is the main reason why I want to be involved."
"Doing something good is what I'm looking forward to the most," she said.
Mr Carr says he is looking forward to the many fundraising events along the ride, and what communities along the way have done to help raise funds for ovarian cancer research.
"What really struck me when I found out a bit more about ovarian cancer is the lack of early detection, and I think anything we can do to advance that research is going to save a lot of lives," Mr Carr said.
The ride has special meaning for Kate Watts, a local teacher who lost her sister Sue to the disease in 2012.
Kate rode in previous years but is unable to in 2021 due to an accident, so will be cheering on the sidelines in her beloved sister's memory.
Like too many women, Sue Watts-O'Shannessy, a popular Bendigo kindergarten teacher, was diagnosed late after thinking her tiredness, bloating, lower back pain, and vomiting might be something else such as coeliac disease, a condition which Kate has.
"Ovarian cancer still kills way too many women," Kate says.
"If we can detect it earlier and treat it better, we can change this."
The Silver Lining Ride began in 2017 and was founded in memory of two friends lost to ovarian cancer, Mandy Herbert and Helen Hatzis.
This year's ride will be led by Mandy's daughter, Georgie Herbert, who co-founded it with Mr Stanaway, an OCRF ambassador.
Ms Lythgo said both Helen and Mandy hated it when people said cancer was a journey, and so the determination continued to have the ride deemed an adventure.
"I think that's why they chose cycling because both Georgie and Clint, who got it off the ground, knew it would be an adventure for them," Ms Lythgo said.
Former Hawthorn hard man and premiership star Campbell Brown is also an ambassador for OCRF, having lost his mother to ovarian cancer in 2019.
Brown will don the lycra for part of the ride.
As well as the Mildura to Melbourne ride, more than 100 participants are completing a 'virtual' ride of 1068km throughout November.
The 1068km signifies one kilometre for each woman who died from ovarian cancer in Australia last year.
OCRF chief executive officer Lucinda Nolan said ovarian cancer was the most lethal gynaecological cancer but was critically underfunded.
"The five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 91 per cent, 83 per cent for uterine and 71 per cent for cervical. For ovarian cancer, it is 46 per cent," she said.
"For our best shot at improving ovarian cancer survival rates, our collective challenge is to move the fight beyond researchers in the lab to more funding from government, corporates and communities."
The Silver Lining Ride participants have been afforded the honour of a tribute lap of the iconic Tom Flood cycling track next Thursday evening as part of the Bendigo and District Cycling Club's track competition.
"This will be the first track event where the new rules post-COVID will apply and so we would invite lots of people to come down, support the cycling club, support us and enjoy a great night of racing," Mr Carr said.
To find out more or donate to the Silver Lining Ride, please visit silverliningride.com.au
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: