Charity spurs surgeon to cycle

Why would an amateur cyclist sign up to ride a punishing WorldTour course?

For South Brisbane surgeon Scott Ingram, it is the same reason he got in to medicine.

“You become a doctor to help people,” Dr Ingram, a plastic surgeon who specialises in breast and skin cancer surgeries, says.

“I see this as an extension of that attitude.”

Dr Ingram, who is based at Mater Private Hospital, signed up to tackle the Beat Cancer Tour – which takes place during the 2014 Santos Tour Down Under in South Australia – to raise money for cancer research.

Dr Ingram has set himself the fundraising goal of $100,000 – more than five times the fundraising criteria – with a personal motivation to reach his target.

“When I was three or four years old, my uncle died from melanoma,” Dr Ingram says.

“I remember him going from a healthy, robust fellow who played a-grade football to being at death’s door within six months. It left a big impression on me and was one of the things that steered me toward a career in medicine.”

Dr Ingram, who was raised in a family of cyclists, says he is looking forward to taking on the Beat Cancer Tour.

“My dad was a pro cyclist in the 1960s and 70s and we used to live at the velodrome in Cairns, so growing up I rode as much as possible. But I stopped riding when I went to university and have only really gotten back in to it over the past ten years. This will be the first time I’ve tackled a WorldTour course.”

Held since 1999, the Santos Tour Down Under – the first stop on the world cycling calendar – is the biggest cycling event in the Southern Hemisphere.

To be eligible for the Beat Cancer Tour, entrants must pay a $1000 registration fee, make a $3500 donation and raise another $12,000, with all proceeds directed to Cancer Council SA.

The funds will contribute to Cancer Council SA’s Beat Cancer Project, under which there are more than 40 research teams working directly to beat cancer.

After the tour, Dr Ingram plans to take his fundraising to the next level and eventually establish an outreach program for people in regional areas.

“In Queensland, skin cancer is rife,” Dr Ingram says.

“In the cities where people have access to doctors and specialist treatments, there is a high survival rate. But people from the bush, who don’t have the same access to these services, have a real problem. I’d really love to get out there and visit rural communities and offer these people my expertise.”

Cancer Council SA Chief Executive Professor Brenda Wilson hopes Dr Ingram’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 Dr Ingram’s passion to make a difference.”

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

Places on the tour are limited to 30 strong cyclists.

To donate to Dr Ingram, visit http://sa.cancercouncilfundraising.org.au/scottingram

To find out more information on the tour, visit the website www.beatcancertour.com.au

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