A GROUP of nine indigenous teenagers have been cycling and fundraising hard to improve their own health and make a difference to the health outcomes of others.
The young men are founding members of the 2 Deadly Treadlys Indigenous Youth cycling group and have been training for almost four months under the guidance of local cycling experts. Attending Trinity Bay High School, the lads are supported by Clontarf Foundation – Trinity Bay Academy and also are part of a state government program – Making Tracks Investment Strategy via Closing The Gap. Cairns Hospital occupational therapist Lauren Sunner, who has been instrumental in bringing the program to fruition, said the lads had been working really hard. “We’ve had a lot of support from the community such as bike shops, as well as bikes supplied by Southside Rotary and the Queensland Police Service,” Ms Sunner said.
“Soon after they began their campaign, they set a goal to participate in the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge which has been a wonderful opportunity for them,” she said. “In the past few months they’ve all made a huge effort to train before and after school, learned pack riding skills, carefully considered their lifestyle choices as well as their diet and exercise regimes to make positive changes,” she said.
Clontarf Foundation Trinity Bay Academy associate director Aidan Coate said the young men had committed to months of training and hard work.
“We’ve had early starts with the boys being picked up from home at 6am for training rides. It’s great to see the boys waiting out the front of their house in the morning ready to tackle the next hill or challenge. The program improves the self-esteem, health, resilience and leadership qualities of these young men who will carry these skills into their school and community,” Mr Coate 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 will mean less people have to travel away for vital cardiac treatment.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said the boys’ achievements were truly admirable and showed what could be done when people put their minds to it. “This ride changes lives – not just in terms of the fundraising and what it does, but how it changes the participants’ lives and it’s really wonderful to watch the growth and development of these young men,” Ms Duncombe said.
The Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge departs Cairns on Saturday, September 16 at 6am from Tjapukai.
For further information or to donate, visit www.cardiacchallenge.com.au and to support their team specifically, search for 2 Deadly Treadlys.
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