Last night we listened to Alex, mother of Sammy. After progressing normally as an infant, Sammy began showing a number of 'red flags' that something was wrong, to the point where he was diagnosed with the most serious level 3 autism spectrum disorder. Alex engaged riders and crew with a heartfelt talk about the difficulties facing children and the stresses and strains on parents challenged with autism. She also spoke about the issues of trying to access various therapies and the feeling of isolation felt by many parents in Rodney (Sammy's dad) and her position. Having battled long wait lists and other frustrations, they finally had Sammy in the AEIOU program at Sippy Downs where they have seen amazing results. It certainly brought a few tears to many of us and reinforced why we are raising money. The hope that we can double the intake at the Toowoomba AEIOU Centre and make a real difference to some of these families was just the incentive we needed for a final fundraising push.
We also congratulated the winners of the jerseys;
White: Nicola Ward
Polka dot: Monica Appleby
Black: Emma Sartori
Green: Lana Sherrie & Penny Shield
Yellow: Kate Wright
Today started off with breakfast at Twin Waters before rolling out at 7.30am to start the long journey home. There were more than a few tired legs out there but remembering why we were doing the ride and the camaraderie of this amazing group of women kept spirits high. Plus, the weather forecast was looking great – no rain – hooray!
We had another 135 kilometres to ride today, first heading through Mooloolaba and then inland to the Glass House Mountains to a spectacular lookout. This was a really tough climb but with a little team work and some awesome pushing by Dave and the other volunteers we all made it to the top. The volumteers were amazing yet again – ensuring we always have sunscreen, water and food. We also had plenty of photos at the lookout that we'll no doubt cherish. We recovered with some delicious lunch and a few cans of coke! Sugar and caffeine seemed to do the trick and spirits were high as we descended back onto the route.
Last stop was the Pine Rivers Showgrounds where we stopped swiftly for toilets, water refills and a final snack to keep us going through to Brisbane. The Police Escort met us and ushered us through the number of traffic lights whilst keeping traffic under control.
One final stop before our final destination enabled us to reset and ride as teams into Mercedes-Benz Brisbane, with our Jersey winners leading the way. As we rode up the ramp we could hear all our friends and family cheering – we really did feel like rock stars. As we rolled in and performed a lap of honour around the show room there were more than a few tears shed.
The three days has been hard but inspirational. We have met some amazing women and made great connections. We had hugs and a well deserved drink before Chain Reaction’s CEO John Ward gave some final thank you’s. At the time of completing the journey our fundraising tally numbered $385,000 and we are still hoping to reach our target of $400,000 over the next few days. So if you are still thinking of donating please do and help us hit our target!
- Faye Goodyear, 2nd year rider for Team Hutchies