Riders pedal sun safe message
DENISON State School students had a nice surprise on Wednesday morning when about 50 riders rolled in from the Smiling for Smiddy Foundation.
Students from Years 1 and 7 cheered the crew on, as they stopped over at the school on day five of their 1600km journey after taking off from the University of Queensland in Brisbane.
The foundation was created in 2006 after Adam Smiddy died from a malignant melanoma at just 26 years old.
The crew stops at different schools along the way, with important messages of sun and bike safety.
What started as just three people riding from Brisbane to Townsville the year Adam died, has turned into an annual tradition with 50 riders and about $2 million raised for cancer research.
Adam's mum and dad, Maria and David, were there to meet the riders as they finished the leg from Blackwater to Emerald.
"I just love seeing the school kids and that they are understanding the message," Maria said. "They see how the riders protect their skin and they are learning. It's their future we're hoping to maintain."
Maria said Adam's good friend and triathlon coach Mark 'Sharky' Smoothy decided to do something in her son's honour, so he ventured on a trip from Brisbane to the Smiddy's front doorstep in Townsville.
"Mark felt he needed to do something to get through the grief," she said.
"There were three riders initially and they raised $26,000 and it's been a big event ever since."
Mark said he and Adam had always wanted to ride to Townsville together, but never got the chance.
"After Adam's funeral I approached his parents and asked for their consent to do this and they were more than happy for it to go ahead," Mark said.
"Because the first ride was so successful, we decided to do it again, and here we are six years later."
Mark said this year the riders were hoping to raise about $700,000 to put towards cancer research.
The Denison students certainly did their bit to help the foundation, by donating $300 to the foundation raised through a free dress day.