Last Friday, a group of Canberra public servants pulled on their lycra and set off on bikes to Charlotte’s Pass, deep in the Snowy Mountains, then turned around and rode back again, their arduous 450km trek inspiring over $70,000 to support people with disabilities in the ACT.
That’s just their total for this year; the combined team of 23 riders and a four-person support squad from the Department of Human Services and Australian Hearing, coordinated by DHS staffer David Lander, has now raised over $288,000 for local charity Hartley Lifecare over four runs at its annual cycling challenge. The team were recognised with an award for the highest fundraising team, for the third consecutive year.
Lander’s stirling efforts have earned him the Milton Valentine award, which is named after one of the event’s biggest past supporters, who took the challenge seven times before he passed away in 2010, as a blog post by his son Dylan explains.
“All of the training and fundraising we do before the challenge develops our teamwork skills, and is great for our mental health,” Lander said in a statement on the department’s media hub before setting off on the weekend.
“Seeing the direct impact we’re having on people’s lives tops it off.”
Australian Hearing regional general manager Rick Wright said he was “honoured” to support the local charity.
Hartley Lifecare has provided residential, recreational, respite, transport and community-based services for people with physical and complex disabilities for over 50 years in the ACT.
CEO Eric Thauvette said the organisation was currently working towards building a new respite care facility for people with disability in the ACT. “We are incredibly grateful to the Department of Human Services, the staff who are riding in this year’s Cycle Challenge and all of the wonderful supporters who have once again helped them to achieve their outstanding fundraising results,” he said.
All images: Dean Thompson Photography.