A DIVERSE group of young people from around the world are tackling one of the Far North’s most iconic adventures – the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge.
Five teenagers who are in Australia as part of the Rotary Youth Exchange, will saddle up and ride in the fundraising bike ride to Cooktown, later this month.
Rotary Cairns Mulgrave Rotary spokesman Peter Sexton said the students are encouraged to experience as many of the host countries customs, traditions, events, natural attractions and education as possible. The Cardiac Challenge ticks off most of these items.
“The Cardiac Challenge gives them the opportunity to meet people they would not normally meet, experience the varying countryside during the ride, while being challenged mentally and physically over the three days,” Mr Sexton said.
Rotary Youth Exchange students have been taking part in the ride since 2014 and Rotary has been heavily involved since its inception. Students doing the event this year are from Japan, Belgium and Germany.
“They arrive in Australia one or two months before the ride as shy students. The ride gives them the opportunity to be fully immersed in the local culture during the training rides and for the three very hectic days during the ride. The achievement of riding 330km also gives them a huge boost of confidence in their ability to overcome the many new experiences in front of them over the coming 12 months,” he said.
The Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge is an annual fundraising bike ride from Cairns to Cooktown, raising funds for cardiac services in the Far North.
Since inception in 2007 by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, the event has raised more than $2.8 million. The Foundation recently announced it would be fundraising $1.4 million towards a second cardiac catheter lab in Cairns, which would mean less people have to travel away for vital cardiac treatment.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said Rotary volunteers were vital part of the event – providing riders, escort drivers and many other volunteers.
“Without this community support, we could not get this event off the ground each year and we know it has a huge impact on the exchange students as well,” Ms Duncombe said.
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