Led by Mandy’s daughter Georgie, Helen’s husband John and great friend of both women and Channel 9 personality Clint Stanaway, the ride travelled from the Adelaide Oval to the MCG across nine long days in the saddle. The trio were joined by six great mates on their bikes, and a support crew skippered by Mandy’s husband Philip.
Regional South Australia and Victoria were warm and welcoming, many towns staging fundraising events to support the cause, and all providing extraordinary local media coverage to drive the groups objective of raising not only funds but awareness of this insidious disease. Sponsors were generous – Giant providing bikes for Clint and Georgie, who had never ridden before, Mercedes Benz Toorak providing support vehicles, and the Bendigo Bank joining as a major sponsor, fundraising through their significant network of branches en route. The final fundraising tally was a huge $100,000 to support Ovarian Cancer Research.
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It was intended to be a one-off, and there was many a joke among the riders that the first stop after the finish line would be the Yarra River or down to Port Phillip Bay, where they could throw their bikes into the water, never to ride again! But that changed, the moment the group pedalled through the tickertape outside the iconic MCG, and post-ride talk quickly turned to ‘where will we ride next year?’.
In 2018, a group of 10 riders departed Canberra, one again bound for the MCG, this time taking in regional NSW and Victoria where they were once again greeted with enormous generosity. Year two of the Silver Lining Ride was led by Justin Flynn and Lissa Marshall, the husband and sister of Ovarian Cancer patient, and OCRF ambassador, Leane.
The ride itself was particularly challenging with some early climbs that left even the best riders of the group a little weary, but no less enthusiastic, as more welcoming towns put on more fundraisers and our media coverage was once again extensive. We once again enjoyed the generous support of Bendigo Bank, with support cars provided by Mazda and Coles on board to provide supplies and kit with thanks to Hub.
By the time the team had crossed the MCG finish line, a further $80,000 had been raised for the OCRF and there was absolutely no doubt the ride would become an annual event.
In 2019, the Silver Lining Ride returned to Adelaide, starting at the Norwood branch of the Bendigo Bank. Rather than head south east, the team of 12 headed north through the Barossa towards the mighty Murray River and Mildura. After a few days of snaking their way along the River, riders wound their way through central Victoria to the MCG. It would be the team’s best fundraising year yet, earning a huge $140,000 and in doing so, proudly being able to fund a new research project into early detection.
For the third year running, the riders and crew were treated to incredible hospitality in regional areas and the media coverage was again sizeable, proving valuable in raising awareness of ovarian cancer as well as boosting fundraising. From winery visits, pizza nights in local venues, to school and hospital visits, the team was humbled by the generosity once more, especially given that many of the roads travelled had seen significant drought. The group was particularly touched to meet Fred and Angela Ienco who lost their beautiful daughter Giovanna to Ovarian Cancer at just 14 years old.
The team was thrilled to have Bendigo Bank as its major partner for a third year running, alongside new partner Skip who contributed not only the coffee but considerable cash, and welcome Alfa Romeo as its vehicle partner.
It was the first year the Ride welcomed guest riders, enjoying the added company of key Bendigo Bank staff, friends from regional areas and the Bendigo Joyriders, a group of female cyclist from the region including Kate Watts whose sister Susie was lost to Ovarian Cancer seven years to the day of her joining the ride.
When Covid19 put the brakes on plans for the 2020 Silver Lining Ride, the OCRF team got creative and with the help of web developers, Pixo, established a virtual edition of the Ride. Integrating Strava into fundraising pages allowed kilometres ridden anywhere and at any time over the Ride period to be tracked. This opened the opportunity for participants from all over Australia to register and get involved.
With parts of the country under lockdown, many of the 90 virtual riders took part on trainers in their lounge rooms or garages and by pedalling around their neighbourhoods! Those with more freedoms tackled bike paths, mountain trails and more. The goal set for riders was 1,068km, representative of the 1,068 women and girls who lose their life to ovarian cancer every year in Australia, and participants were encouraged to either tackle that distance individually or share the load as a team.
Former AFL star, Campbell Brown, took part, riding in memory of his mum, Kay who lost her fight with ovarian cancer in 2019. Ride founders Georgie Herbert and Clint Stanaway also participated, along with a number of members of the Subaru-Giant Racing Team and many of the previous Silver Lining Riders. As the final kilometres were pedalled in late November, the overall fundraising total had topped $90,000 and the virtual edition of the Ride was hailed a success. Such a success, in fact, that the OCRF team will continue to run a virtual Silver Lining Ride in 2021 and beyond, even when the core ride team is able to get back to the road to ride in the original physical format.
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