Finding cures for children's genetic diseases


Great Cycle Challenge gets behind cancer research


This month, thousands of riders across Australia are using pedal power to raise money for the scientists at Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) and their ground-breaking cancer research.

The Great Cycle Challenge is held every October, with all funds going directly to CMRI. During the last five years that the Challenge has existed, more than 42,000 riders right across the country have raised $12,280,194 for CMRI.

The riders are an extremely dedicated, and competitive, bunch of people who are inspired by the stories of the children, the faces of the campaign.

One of those children is four-year-old Ivy-Jean Phipps. She was diagnosed with leukaemia, after feeling so unwell on Christmas Day last year that she couldn’t even get out of bed to open her presents. Her New Year began with chemotherapy.

Dad, Kyle Phipps, said they packed for a couple of days in hospital but stayed there for seven weeks, hours away from their regional home.

“We thought it was a death sentence, it was pretty aggressive,’’ Kyle said. “If we didn’t get on top of it when we did, who knows what would have happened? We had some pretty dark days, but we’re not unique. A lot of families go through worse situations.’’

He hopes the Great Cycle Challenge educates others about how vital research is.

“If all goes well, she’ll be cancer free by March 2020, but we have a lot to go through until then,’’ Kyle said. “We wouldn’t have our little girl if it wasn’t for research. If they didn’t develop new treatments all the time, who knows what would have happened? It’s extremely important to support research and to work towards finding cures. We will be forever grateful, because not that long ago, she wouldn’t have had a chance – when you got leukaemia, that was it.’’

One man riding in the Challenge is Jamie Harvey. He has just been diagnosed with liver cancer and is classified as terminal, but he is still going to ride in the Great Cycle Challenge.

“Having cancer, it is, what it is,’’ Jamie said. “You can’t change things. You’ve got to roll with the punches. If you’re not positive, you’d crash pretty quickly. I’m not going to let it dictate what I do. I’m in charge. It’s really important to me to stay normal. Onwards and upwards.’’

Funding from the Great Cycle Challenge will assist many of Children’s Medical Research Institute’s programs, like the world-leading ProCan® project. ProCan will analyse and measure thousands of proteins simultaneously in cancers and use advanced computational techniques to learn how to predict the most effective treatments for individual cancers.

The Great Cycle Challenge is now one of the biggest cycling events across Australia, where people get on their bike over the month of October, ride and ask for sponsors.

There’s no minimum goal, it’s your challenge. Your goal could be as simple as riding around the block every afternoon.

Show your support for the kids and for the work being done at Children’s Medical Research Institute by registering or donating at