Promise to pedal

Before Deryck Walker’s long-time friend, David Hall, died of cancer last year, the Glen Iris man promised him he would do whatever he could to help fight the disease.

He kept his promise and last month signed up to tackle the 2014 Beat Cancer Tour, which takes place during the Santos Tour Down Under in South Australia from January 19 – 26, 2014.

“Like so many other people, I have known somebody with cancer; my friend David, who passed away,” Mr Walker, 31, says.

“At one point, (David) was feeling pretty low so I offered to raise money for a cancer charity to lift his spirits. When I saw this opportunity, I know it was the right fit.”

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.

Mr Walker says the Beat Cancer Tour, which gives amateur riders the opportunity to cycle every stage of the tour ahead of the pros, was the perfect way to honor David’s memory.

“David knew about my cycling and always thought I was crazy, so I think he’d be pretty impressed I’m doing this in his name.  I’ve never done something like this before, but I think it will be really good. I’m looking forward to the challenge and will start riding 300-400km each week in preparation.”

To be eligible for the tour, Mr Walker 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.

“When David was sick, it was a helpless feeling,” Mr Walker says.

“But I see doing this as something positive I can do to help beat the disease. And you’ve got to take the positives whenever you can.”

Cancer Council SA Chief Executive Professor Brenda Wilson hopes Mr Walker’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 Walker’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 Mr Walker, visit http://sa.cancercouncilfundraising.org.au/deryckwalker

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

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