Locals Steven Hallam and Tyrone Harris will be raising funds for children in need when they take on a cycling challenge spanning the 1000 kilometres between Mount Gambier and Adelaide.
Ride for Sick Kids SA aims to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House, which supports children with serious illnesses and disabilities.
Mr Hallam’s son Noah is the ambassador for the race. Noah has had to endure seven major brain surgeries due to living with multiple craniosynostosis.
The diagnosis means Noah’s skull is fused prematurely, leaving no room for his brain to grow. Despite living with a debilitating condition, Noah he remains a happy boy with a big smile.
“He doesn’t know any different, he lives life to the fullest. That makes it easier on us,” Mr Hallam said.
“There are a lot of families out there doing it tough because they’re in the same situation as us. No one wants to see their child suffer.”
Because of the constant travel to Adelaide for Noah’s surgeries, Mr Hallam and his wife Bree have been frequent users of the Ronald McDonald House.
“It’s a place that’s always nearby when we need it. We get to talk to other families who have gone through the same things we have with Noah,” he said.
Mr Hallam has been busy preparing for the grueling seven-day ride, and with good reason – he hadn’t even ridden a bike before until recently.
“I’ve been doing a lot of conditioning, and spending a lot of time riding. You’ve got to make sure you eat the right foods when you need to eat them,” he said.
“I’m definitely excited to participate in the ride. I know that if I’m in a situation where it’s getting tough, I can think of Noah and how he doesn’t give up. That’s good motivation for me.”
Each rider will be assigned a child to raise funds for, with Mr Hallam to ride for all seven days of the event and Mr Harris to ride for two days.
The ride can be very challenging, but Mr Harris says it’s worth it when you reach the finish line.
“As I found out more information about the foundation I ended up getting into the fundraising, because I saw it as a very worthwhile cause,” he said.
“McDonalds to me used to be a place where you just buy hamburgers, but now I’ve seen how many families are supported by the Ronald McDonald house.
“The best part is when you ride into the house and see the faces on the kids and the families. They all start crying tears of joy, it’s also great to see the support teams for each of the riders.”
Mr Harris said the ride isn’t just about raising funds, it’s also about raising awareness for the Ronald McDonald House.
“I feel like the house is a little underused right now, it’s not one which is well-known. It’s not just the dollars it’s the awareness,” he said.
The ride begins in Broken Hill at ends at the Ronald McDonald House in Adelaide, lasting from November 19 to November 25.