Over the next week, a team of 56 cyclists will ride from Brisbane to Townsville on a 1600 kilometre journey of mateship, endurance and honour in the 10th annual Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge.
The ride, which kicks off this Saturday morning in Brisbane aims to raise $300 000 for cancer research, all in memory of 26-year-old Adam Smiddy.
It has been 9 years since Adam, a talented triathlete and physiotherapist, was struck down in his prime by an aggressive melanoma.
In 2006, after Adam's passing, his mate Mark Smoothy decided to honour his friend the best way he knew how—by saddling up for the 1600 km ride that Adam had dreamed of completing.
By the time Mark and friends Ron Steel and Oliver Bodak reached Home Hill near Townsville, the trio had raised $24 000 for cancer research. And Smiling for Smiddy was born.
This year Mark, Ron and Oliver will again saddle up for the eight day trip—and they'll be joined by riders from across Australia.
Each year, more than 400 dedicated participants come together in the spirit of Smiddy to take up the challenge of funding cancer research at mater through several different cycling and triathlon events.
"To date, Smiling for Smiddy events have not only honoured our family and friends touched by cancer, but we've raised almost $6 million to support cancer care and research at Mater."
Nine years on from that first ride, Smiling for Smiddy contributes to world-class research projects at Mater including melanoma, prostate, breast and ovarian cancers, as well as complementary therapies to improve the quality of life for cancer patients.
Mater Foundation Chief Executive Officer Nigel Harris said the money raised by Smiling for Smiddy events helped thousands of Australian who had been touched by cancer.
"Smiling for Smiddy events are held not only to remember Adam, but all those who have faced this devastating disease. We wish our team of riders all the bset for their trip and thank all the communities along the route who have opened their hearts and wallets to the amazing Smiddy team of riders over the years."
The 10th Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge will include overnight stops in Nanango, Eidsvold, Biloela, Blackwater, Clermont, Belyando Crossing and Charters Towers, before arriving in Townsville on Saturday 5 September.