Riders from around the State complete 650km journey to raise funds for cancer support

Isabel VieiraNarrogin Observer
Participants in this year’s Red Sky Ride.
Camera IconParticipants in this year’s Red Sky Ride. Credit: Zenith Insurance Services

More than 30 cyclists from around the State have completed a 650km ride through the Wheatbelt to raise funds for Solaris Cancer Care.

The annual Red Sky Ride was founded by Kim Gilbert and Deb Macksy to raise $1 million over five years for cancer patients and their families.

The ride is in its 15th year and participants raised almost $210,000, with more donations still to come.

Thirty-four participants set off from Solaris Cottesloe support centre on February 24 for the mammoth bike ride through the Wheatbelt and then on to Bunbury before they returned to Perth on February 27.

The riders passed through Narrogin on Friday after they pedalled up and down rolling hills in 36C heat.

Many of the participants were riding on behalf of a family member or friend, while others had faced their own battles with cancer.

Mr Gilbert said he established the ride after his own experience with cancer.

“When our niece Carys went through her cancer journey in 2007, she unfortunately did not have a good outcome,” he said.

“I was disappointed in the medical system and the lack of support and at that point was not aware of Solaris Cancer Care.

“Through my contact with Deb Macksy from Aurenda, the co-founder of the Red Sky Ride who had lost her mother to cancer, I became aware of Solaris and the fantastic work the organisation did.

“We also became aware of their need for funding.”

Global Civil and Mining non-executive director Kane Blackburn became involved in the Red Sky Ride after his own experience with the disease.

“Coming from a patient’s point of view, you go through a couple of years of being tied to the health system and when you come out of it all of a sudden you just get on with life,” he said.

“My uncles are involved in the (Harry) Perkins Ride and when I saw the Red Sky Ride it just made a lot of sense to get involved with it.

“It’s always good to be able to give back and this ride has been a good way to give back even just a tiny bit.”

The ride also aims to raise awareness for cancer support services available for patients and carers across WA.

“I cannot thank the organisers, volunteers and riders enough for their hard work and contribution over the last 15 years,” Solaris Cancer Care chief executive officer Francis Lynch said.

“The generosity of the community has been astounding, with more than $4 million raised for Solaris Cancer Care to ensure cancer patients and their families are supported during the toughest journey of their lives.

“Although the ride is in its final year, the memories and friendships made will last a lifetime.”

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