01 May 2020
This May, Sarah and Mitch Smelt from Novar Gardens are taking on the ultimate fitness challenge, committing to cycle 1000kms throughout the month—that’s 33km a day—to raise funds for those impacted by a cancer diagnosis.
Sarah explains why supporting Cancer Council SA is incredibly important to them both.
“Mitch’s mum Leanne was diagnosed with lung cancer in October 2018. I like to describe her as a ‘cool mum’, she was incredibly fit and healthy and was training to do an 30km walk when she was diagnosed.”
“Lee has always been such an incredible support to so many people, previously taking part in Cancer Council SA fundraisers like Relay For Life. She couldn’t take part in the event this year because she was too sick, so we thought it was our turn to give back and do something to support her,” she said.
Sarah says that the decision to ride 1000km was made on the spur of the moment. She is by no means a bike rider—in fact, she only bought her first bike last month.
“I haven’t ridden a bike since I was 10 years old. At the start of March, Mitch bought me a cruiser bike and I really enjoyed taking it out for a spin. I loved it so much that a couple of weeks later we invested in buying me a proper road bike. Mitch already had one, so it became something we were able to do together. It’s also a great activity that we can do now while social distancing!”
“I had seen a few people committing to do distance challenges online and I thought to myself ‘this is something we can do too’ and the idea was born. To reach our target, we essentially must ride to Semaphore and back from our house every day in May—we did our first ride last weekend and it was really long,” she laughed. “It’s definitely going to be a challenge!”
The last two months have been particularly hard on the Smelt family. People with cancer are at a greater risk of contracting Coronavirus, which means that the family haven’t been able to see each other for over seven weeks.
“It’s been incredibly difficult, as seeing the family brings Mitch’s parents so much joy. Mitch’s brother Chris recently had a baby and they missed out on celebrating his six-month birthday on the weekend. He’s their first grandchild, so missing out on celebrations like that is really hard for everyone,” she said.
Sarah and Mitch originally set a fundraising target of $1,000—one dollar for every kilometre they ride. Amazingly, they surpassed that fundraising total in just 24 hours.
“I originally thought, ‘geez it would be so embarrassing if no one donated’ so to get such an amazing response, especially now with so many people facing financial challenges, was just incredible!” she said.
They have even had support from local hero Adelaide Crows great Tony Modra.
“I work with ex-Adelaide Crows player Rod Jameson, and he knows how much of a Tony Modra fan I am. Last week he sent me a message with a personalised video from Modra wishing us good luck. Talk about motivation!” she said.
Sarah says that for her and Mitch, the ride is all about giving back to support Lee and all those diagnosed with cancer.
“Lee turned 60 this year so it seemed fitting to do something to support her and thank her for all she’s done for others. Knowing that the money raised will not only support Lee, but all those South Australians going through cancer, makes it even better!”
Sarah and Mitch are fundraising through Cancer Council’s Do it For Cancer website and are also logging their daily kms through Strava.
To find out more about their story and to donate visit www.doitforcancer.com.au/fundraisers/sarahsmelt.