Its Wednesday night and I am now in Adelaide. I have just finished dinner with some of the other team members. Its great to see people from around the country that I only get to catch up with once a year. We all come together through Tour de Cure and share a very special journey together. It really hits home that we are here for a reason and nothing is going to stop us from accomplishing our goals.
This brings me to my 2015 Signature Tour dedication.
This year has been challenging in a number of ways for me and one of those challenges was fundraising. Coming back year after year and doing multiple tours throughout those years was never going to be an easy task. I have always said from day one, that I did not want my Tour de Cure experiences to be funded by friends and family. Of course, my friends and family have always given me plenty of support over the years, but I really wanted to find ways of getting out into the public and spreading the awareness message that Tour de Cure pride themselves on.
As you know from my previous blog post, I recently held a trivia fundraising night with Jodi, another tour rider. Prior to this night (quite a while ago now) I met a man named David while I was running a Tour de Cure stall at my local markets. David approached me and said, "Ive seen what Tour de Cure do and I really like what they are about." He told me that he had ridden the conquer cancer ride for his Mum and his cousin's Wife who is currently battling cancer. We got chatting for a bit, talking about cycling and what TdC have been up to lately. Dave asked me what other sort of things I had planned to do to meet my $15,000 fundraising goal. I replied with my usual list of events, "high teas, selling chocolates, food stalls, bike raffles, more markets and I was also thinking of running a trivia night sometime..." - "Oh really" Dave said, "Im a professional trivia host and speaker, so give me a call and I will donate my time to run the night for you."
We exchanged details and Dave went on with his morning market shopping.
When it came time for me to organise my trivia night, I was hesitant to call Dave as it had been so long since we had spoken. A few weeks out from my event, I decided to give him a call, hoping that he would remember me.
To cut to the chase, Dave ran our trivia night and helped us smash our target for the night with a $12,000 result! Throughout the night, Jodi and I had shared with our guests why we ride and raise money with Tour de Cure. At the end of the night Dave decided to share his story about how his Mother lost her battle with cancer. Im not sure that there was a dry eye in the room that night. I asked Dave if I could learn bit more about his story.
I have not edited the following paragraphs as his words speak for themselves.
"My mother was born Antoinette Mary Stock but she was known as Toni. She was born in Horsham, not far from where you are riding. She moved to Melbourne with her family serving the local church community through it’s music and running a community musical society for 25 years. She was a tough woman who was, it was said, hard to like but easy to love. She’d do anything for you but also cut you down with a quick witted tongue. Despite that, she had a huge following who were greatly affected by her passing. In the early 2000’s she developed a pain in the lumbar region of her back. After putting up with it for a while she finally got it checked out and x-rays quickly ruled out any skeletal issues. However a small dark smudge prompted a referral and further investigation showed a very aggressive cancer had taken over her lumbar region. Multiple Myeloma was the result. She went down hill fairly quickly after that."
"I missed much of her last year as I was living in Rockhampton. I got down as often as I could afford. She died on May 2nd, 2003 leaving behind a husband, five kids and five grandkids. My wife Franki and our own two kids (4 and 2) came along far too late to meet her. I would have loved to see them together and have only just started introducing her to my children through stories. You ride into Melbourne on her anniversary."
I believe that I was meant to meet Dave at the markets that day. I think we will help each other as we continue to build our friendship and plan more events for Tour de Cure in the future. He is an amazing guy with his heart in the right place and I cant wait to see how he impacts the local community by spreading awareness in a very unique way. He has a very touching story and it really sums up why I cant stop supporting Tour de Cure's fight against cancer.
My 2015 Signature Tour is dedicated to Toni & Dave.