After losing his mum Tania in 2015 to breast cancer, RMIT student Declan wanted to do something to honour her and support others like her.
The 23-year old from Swan Hill decided to raise money for Cancer Council, but knew his fundraising challenge had to be something pretty significant to attract attention.
I knew it had to be something that inspires people and requires a lot of physical effort, to look at ‘Ride to a Cure’ and inspire people to give.
On 3 April 2017 Declan set out on his bike, departing Federation Square and embarking on a nearly 6,000km ride to Darwin. He dubbed his adventure his ‘Ride To A Cure’, and set up a Facebook page so his friends and family back home could follow his journey.
Over two months, Declan rode along the Eastern coastline, passing through Byron Bay and Rockhampton, where his father joined him. He travelled through Central Queensland and the Northern Territory, before finally arriving in Darwin on 12 June.
“Through all the really tough times out on my own or in the wilderness with dad, I made a decision that whenever faced with challenges, I would keep going and never give in,” Declan said. “I carried photos of my mum, friends and family to motivate me along the way.”
Declan ended up smashing his original fundraising target of $10,000, raising an outstanding $75,000. He chose to direct his funds towards improving mammogram machines, and a research project on the type of cancer his mum, Tania had – a HER2+ Receptor Tumour.
Fast forward one year
It’s been a year since Declan’s epic ride and we’re so excited to share that recently he got see first-hand how much of a difference he has made.
On 11 July 2018, he met with Dr Nicole Haynes, the lead on one of the research projects he funded through Ride To A Cure. Dr Haynes is a Senior Research Fellow in the Cancer Immunology Program at Peter McCallum Cancer Centre, and is working a project that targets HER2+ breast cancer with novel combination therapies.
Dr Haynes said “I'm so pleased to have had the opportunity to meet Declan and say thank you in person. This funding has been so important to my research career and I can't thank Declan and Cancer Council enough for all their support.”
If you’re like Declan and would like to take on a challenge to support a cancer-free future, start fundraising through I Will For Cancer today.