As many of our return riders will testify, you start your first Smiddy ride as strangers, but by the end of those two, five or eight days on the road, you’re family.
It's a Smiddy phenomenon; a result of spending 24/7 with your fellow riders and road crew. Each ride is emotionally-charged and as you clock up the kilometres, the walls come down and stories are shared.
Which is why it really hits home when one of our own is suddenly faced with the ‘C’ word.
"An as oncology nurse at Mater, I’ve seen first-hand the devastating numbers of women presenting with advanced ovarian cancer,” Smiling for Smiddy rider Kris Ramsay said.
"I hope to one day be out of work,” Kris said.
Kris’ first brush with Smiling for Smiddy came back in 2015 when she signed up for the Smiling for Smiddy Noosa Challenge with husband Jim.
“Jim made the original suggestion to take on the Smiling for Smiddy ride around the hills of Noosa and I thought he was crazy,” Kris said.
“Then I learned that the funds were being directed towards ovarian cancer research and I saw it as my chance to step forward and make a difference.
“Research remains the only key to unlocking new treatments and better outcomes for those with a cancer diagnosis. Cancer research provides hope and everyone deserves to have hope.”
Earlier this year—just before Jim took part in his fourth Smiddy event, the 2017 New Zealand Smiddy Challenge—the couple further realised the importance of hope when Jim was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“Since the age of 40, I’ve been having my PSA checked, amongst a number of other blood test I’ve been doing, and four years ago, my levels started to elevate a little bit above what they should have been,” Jim said.
“Earlier this year, I needed to have my prostate removed, but thankfully they caught it early and I should be good from here on out. It’s only been nine weeks, but in another three I should be riding again and hopefully I’ll be doing another Smiddy event this year.
“I’d just really encourage everyone to do the test, it’s just a simple blood test, and look after yourselves—or your family members—because it’s really important. You could save your life."