A team of 24 cyclists from the Department of Human Services will brave wild weather conditions and intrepid terrain and ride 454 km from Canberra to Charlotte Pass and back again over three days to raise funds for Hartley Lifecare.
Department of Human Services General Manager Hank Jongen said the distances, hills and storms the team may experience while riding to the Snowy Mountains next weekend are only a fraction of the challenges people living with complex disabilities face on a daily basis.
‘This year the Hartley Cycle Challenge will be celebrating its 20th anniversary and I’m pleased to see the department is supporting this significant milestone by leading the fundraising again, raising almost $74,000,’ Mr Jongen said.
‘The department first participated in the Hartley Cycle Challenge back in 2015 with a team of only twelve cyclists and now there are twenty four.
‘It’s inspiring to see how their passion and dedication to the cause has grown and to see what they have achieved over the last five years.
‘Thanks to the support of colleagues, family, friends and local businesses, the department’s team has raised a staggering $360,000 for Hartley Lifecare since their first ride in 2015.
‘I wish the cycle team the best of luck and thank you all for the effort you have put in to raise funds and awareness of the challenges people with complex disabilities face.’
This year the team includes World Champion Brett Bellchambers who is famous for competing in 24 hour endurance races solo on a single speed bike. In 2015 Brett hit a wallaby and ended up in intensive care for two weeks.
‘The accident brought home to me what was important in my life. Luckily for me the injuries weren’t as serious as the doctors initially thought. I did have several brain haemorrhages though and it took me a good few months to recover,’ Mr Bellchambers said.
‘I’m looking forward to riding the Hartley Challenge this year. I like Hartley Lifecare as a charity because you can see directly where the funds raised go. For example last year it was a house, this year it is the refurbishment of a collection of existing houses.
‘Hartley Lifecare supports people who need help and their families who look after them. It is comforting to know there is an organisation like Hartley Lifecare who would have looked after me if things had gone differently after my accident.’
Brett and another 23 cyclists from the department will set off for Jindabyne on Friday 22 November at dawn. To find out more about the Hartley Cycle Challenge and Hartley Lifecare visit https://www.hartley.org.au/event/the-hartley-cycle-challenge/home