Tamworth mother Simone Church riding to raise money for children's cancer research

CLOSE TO HEART: Tamworth mum Simone Church is gearing up for a big month on the bike while raising money for kids' cancer research. Photo: Jacob McArthur
CLOSE TO HEART: Tamworth mum Simone Church is gearing up for a big month on the bike while raising money for kids' cancer research. Photo: Jacob McArthur

SIMONE Church is taking the ride so no one else has to.

The last 14 years have been a white-knuckled ride for the Church family who has pushed on in the face of adversity since daughter, Olivia, was diagnosed with a brain tumour, aged five.

Spurred-on by grit and determination, mum, Simone, is set to pedal at least 1000 kilometres during the next three weeks, raising money for children’s cancer research.

Olivia, now 19, continues to stave-off cancer, but her mum wants to see more attention and funding poured into the illness that “has caused so many problems” in her daughter’s life.

“To see that happen to your child, and to see the after-effects, she’s had chemo, she’s had surgery, it just goes on for years,” Ms Church said.

“If I could help, in some way, to prevent another family from going through what we have been through and what she goes through on a day-to-day basis, I would do anything I could.”

Despite being dealt a terrible hand in her life, Olivia remains resolute, her mum says.

“She’s an amazing person, she’s got a beautiful personality, she’s very giving and kind and she doesn’t have a bad bone in her body,” Ms Church said.

“You can’t help but thinking what life would have been for her had it not happened.”

Ms Church only hopped on a bike and joined the local cycling club about six months ago, but the cause and the challenge seem like a perfect match for the Tamworth real estate agent.

Her fundraising efforts will go towards The Great Cycle Challenge which has been raising money to fight kids’ cancer since 2013.

More than 20 members of Tamworth Cycling Club have joined the cause.

Ms Church, a self-described “fitness nut”, is no stranger to endurance. Formerly a runner, she was encouraged to try cycling following an ankle operation in January.

The gear change has proved providential for the Tamworth mother, with Ms Church finding a means to make a difference, as well as falling into a new “gang”.

“The Tamworth cycling community is amazing and so inclusive, so I’ve become addicted really quickly,” she said.

GEARING UP: (Back) Luke O'connor, Rob Wright and Darren Traill with (front) Dwone Jones, Min McDonald and Jay Lynch ahead of the challenge. Photo: Gareth Gardner

GEARING UP: (Back) Luke O'connor, Rob Wright and Darren Traill with (front) Dwone Jones, Min McDonald and Jay Lynch ahead of the challenge. Photo: Gareth Gardner

“It’s become my life in a lot of ways.”

She said the sisterhood among the cycling club was one of the most addictive elements of the sport.

“I think the girls, in particular, in the first month or two, if they hadn’t of been so embracing I probably wouldn’t have got into it as much as I have,” she said.

“You feel like you’re jumping on board a train that’s moving, but everyone is helping you.”