All You Have to Do is Ride!

More than 10 years after being successfully treated for leukaemia, 16-year-old Samuel joined the Foundation's team to compete in the Murray to Moyne 2018 (a 24-hour cycle relay from Echuca to Port Fairy).

He covered more than 300 km to raise funds to help the next generation of patients.

Samuel was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia when he was 18 months old.

He is now a fit and active and decided to follow the example of his father and his oncologist and join the Cytotoxic Cyclists for the annual event.

“I thought it was a great opportunity to give back to the Children’s Cancer Foundation, who do so much to help families and patients going through a similar situation to what my family and I went through,” said Samuel.

Samuel’s interest in participating intensified after he completed work experience in the oncology department at The Royal Children’s Hospital.

“After doing work experience, I got a real look at what the Foundation does for patients,” Samuel said.

“The work they do with children and their families is fantastic and they always provide support to those who need it.”

Samuel raised $3,185, making a major contribution to the total of $50,000 raised for the Foundation.

“It is important, especially in my case, to give back to organisations like the Children’s Cancer Foundation, as they have helped many people through very difficult times,” said Samuel.

“They provide a stress-free environment where children can go to distract themselves from the treatment and the illness they are going through. They give children a welcome relief from the difficult times."

A highlight of the ride for Samuel was cycling alongside Dr Peter Downie, the oncologist who first treated him at The Royal Children's Hospital. Dr Downie, who now leads the Monash Children’s Cancer Centre, cycles in the relay every year.

“Riding with my oncologist, Peter Downie, was great,” said Samuel.

“I only see him once every year for my annual check up, and he was an incredibly important person in my life when I was going through treatment. He helped me get through everything and stay calm and happy.

“Dr Downie is much more than my oncologist. I look forward to seeing him and I remember how I always felt great support and comfort from the nurses and especially Dr Downie,” he said.

The 2018 team included 20 cyclists and 10 support crew – staff, patients and families from The Royal Children’s Hospital and Monash Children’s Hospital, plus their friends.

Samuel’s father Liam had taken cycled in the event in 2017 and joined as a support crew member this year.  

Samuel said there was great friendship and support among all the participants on the ride.

“I met a lot of really great people who helped and encouraged me during the ride. I definitely wouldn’t have ridden as far without them,” Samuel said.

“It also gave me the opportunity to come out of my shell a bit and interact with people older than me who have been impacted by cancer at some point in their lives.

“I recommend participating in the Murray to Moyne to anyone who feels fit and healthy and would like to help raise money for the Children’s Cancer Foundation. All you have to do is ride," he said.

“I was aiming to ride over 300 kilometres and was really excited when I knew I had achieved that. Riding through the finishing line I had a great sense of achievement. Riding with a team who all had a common goal of raising funds for kids like me was pretty special."

Has Samuel inspired you to get involved with the Murray to Moyne teamContact us to find out more.

Read more stories from 'Behind the Spokes with the Cytotoxic Cyclists.'

Samuel Stephens