Cycling for cancer cause

Sameera Bashir has been overwhelmed with support from the Narrandera community for her Great Cycle Challenge, which raises funds for kids with cancer.

Even after years of seeing the Narrandera community in action, it can still be surprising to see how generous a town Narrandera is.

Sameera Bashir found that out first-hand when her small fundraising exercise blew up in a very big way.

Ms Bashir volunteered to take part in the Great Cycle Challenge Australia, where participants fundraise and are sponsored to cycle for a set distance to raise money for kids with cancer.

“When I started, I just put 50km and $100 down, but then it grew,” she explained. At the time of print, Mr Bashir’s $100 goal has now reached $3,202.09, jumping nearly $1000 in just a week.

Considering the challenge doesn’t start until the beginning of October, there’s still plenty of time for the funds to grow.

“I only started it a couple of weeks ago. I ride so much, I thought I may as well put my bike-riding to good use,” Ms Bashir said.

“I did some research on it and 600 kids get diagnosed every year with cancer, and three kids a week die from it.”

The funds raised by Ms Bashir will be donated to the Cildren’s Medical Research Institute. The Great Cycle Challenge is designed to be operated from anywhere in Australia.

Participants can sign up online and download an app, which tracks how many kilometres they cycle over the month of October. Mr Bashir said that it was an online social media post from a sick child that spurred her on to greater heights.

“She made me a poster that said ‘you rock’ and it was posted online. She’s three years old; in the last eight months, she’s had 37 rounds of chemo, 12 lumbar punctures,” she said.

“That’s why I’m doing it. They’re kids; they’ve got no bad karma. They haven’t even had time to sing yet.”

I initially was only going to do 100km, but then I changed the details and said I’d be doing 200km.” Although 200km might seem like a lot for the less active of us, Ms Bashir is nonchalant about the distance.

“Really, I could probably do 400km, but I’m just not sure how much time I’ve got. I’m turning 50 on the 17th, so I might go away for a week, and I’ve got a couple of weddings that I need to entertain for,” she said.

The success of Ms Bashir’s efforts so far has meant she is already thinking ahead to next year. “Next year I might just try to keep the whole of October vacant, and just see how much I can do,” she said.

“I was also thinking that I could maybe try to get NarBUG into it, Narrandera’s bike riding group, and do it as a team. “It’s all thanks to the support of the local community, for supporting a local,” Ms Bashir said.

To donate to Ms Bashir’s cause, sponsors can visit greatcyclechallenge.com.au/Riders/SameeraBashir.

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