ARIA Awards Event Producer gears up for Santos Tour Down Under after tragic accident in 2012

Michael Long’s passion for cycling nearly cost him his life, after a horrific road bike accident left him with serious spinal injuries last year.

Now the ARIA Awards event producer has set himself the challenge of taking on a WorldTour cycling course, putting an expression of interest forward in the 2014 Beat Cancer Tour, which takes place in South Australia from January 19 – 26, 2014.

Mr Long, who made a name for himself in the music industry after working with big names such as INXS, Ian Moss, Jimmy Barnes and Cold Chisel, came off his bike just days after the 2012 ARIA Awards, while training ahead of a cycling trip to Italy.

The avid cyclist suffered serious spinal injuries in the accident – breaking his neck and fracturing his spine. After a gruelling eight months in rehab undergoing treatment for his injuries, Mr Long has returned to form and hopes to tackle the 2014 Santos Tour Down Under.

“I’m still recovering,” Mr Long says. “The accident nearly killed me, but I feel like the luckiest person alive.  I have been riding every day, twice a day. It’s been a big part of my rehab.”

The motivation for Mr Long to make a brave return to cycling happened when he discovered the 2014 Beat Cancer Tour by chance last month.

“I was just flicking through my emails and I saw it,” Mr Long says. “My accident made me relook and refocus on a lot of things – especially on people who are going through hardships, which may not be evident on the surface. I saw this opportunity as a personal challenge, which would also benefit others.”

The Beat Cancer Tour gives amateur cyclists the opportunity to ride every stage of the STDU – ahead of the professionals – in team kit. The cyclists are provided with all inclusive meals and mechanical, medical and massage services.

Participants must pay a $1000 registration fee, make a $3500 donation and raise another $12,000, with all proceeds directed to Cancer Council SA.

Cancer Council SA Chief Executive Professor Brenda Wilson hopes Mr Long’s story will inspire other strong cyclists to take on the challenge of the Beat Cancer Tour.

The Beat Cancer Tour is an opportunity for avid cyclists from across Australia and the world to test themselves on a WorldTour course, while at the same time making a real difference to the lives of the 300 Australians who are diagnosed with cancer every day,” Professor Wilson says.

“At Cancer Council, we believe that together we will beat cancer and I’m inspired and encouraged by Mr Long’s passion to make a difference.”

Places on the tour are limited to 30 strong cyclists, with the successful applicants to be notified at a later date.

To find out more visit the website www.beatcancertour.com.au

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