Eric Young is one of 50 SuperCyclists who is riding 1000km over seven days across rural South Australia to raise vital funds for The Hospital Research Foundation’s (THRF) Under Our Roof project, providing accommodation for country cancer patients and their families who need to travel to Adelaide for treatment.
Eric’s motivation for signing up for Mercer SuperCycle three years ago, is very close to his heart.
“When I first heard about the ride I was thinking about the challenge, 1000km ride in seven days sounded very daunting,” Eric said.
“But then I realised the cause was one I could relate to very well. My sister has five children and lives inland from Bryon Bay. For any major medical issues of her own or her families, it’s a two hour trip each way back to Brisbane.
“So when she developed breast cancer, the travel was hard.
“Her experience really made me think about the difficulties of living away from a capital city. Luckily for my sister her cancer treatment was successful, but it was a very difficult time for her and her family.”
Watching his sister battle breast cancer, Eric grew an understanding of the burden those who live in the country face when they are diagnosed with cancer. Not only do they have to deal with their diagnosis and treatment options, they also have the extra financial burden of sourcing accommodation.
“Cancer just strikes, it leaves the sufferer questioning what will happen to their children and partner if they weren’t around anymore,” Eric said.
“The support of family and loved ones helps immensely when faced with such a potentially fatal illness. This is a time when you need your family’s moral support the most.”
The Under Our Roof homes provide a sanctuary for people when they need it most.
This is where the Under Our Roof project comes in. Thanks to Eric and his fellow riders involved in Mercer SuperCycle the first Under Our Roof homes were completed in 2015, located in Woodville West, the homes are only minutes away from The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Seeing the homes come to life was a proud moment for Eric and the team, but the need for more homes is only growing. Last year the Woodville West houses were occupied for 81 percent of the year, meaning due to high demand, sadly some people had to be turned away.
For this year’s Mercer SuperCycle, the cyclists are riding to make the next Under Our Roof homes a reality. The team are determined to raise enough funds to see construction begin on a second lot of family style accommodation, closer to the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
Personally, Eric is looking forward to another successful year for Mercer SuperCycle.
“Mercer SuperCycle is such a supportive environment, and it’s very rewarding to see people achieve far more than they thought they ever could before they started training.”
Eric and the SuperCyclists are currently on day three of their ride, returning on Friday April 7th to a welcome home event at Kensington Gardens Reserve.