GYM JOURNEY: Samantha Smith is riding a spin bike at the gym to raise money for cancer research.
GYM JOURNEY: Samantha Smith is riding a spin bike at the gym to raise money for cancer research. Mike Richards

Friend's cancer ordeal sparks decision to help

SAMANTHA Smith is not your average tuckshop lady.

The Kin Kora State School tuckshop manager has challenged herself to ride 300km on a spin bike to raise money for cancer research as part of the Great Cycle Challenge this month.

Her decision to participate was a personal one.

Renee Downman is a Buderim local and member of Mrs Smith's extended family.

She was 21 when she was diagnosed in 2013 with cancer, an aggressive form of Ewing's sarcoma.

"We were devastated when Renee was diagnosed and had to have chemotherapy," she said.

She is one of only 30 people in the world with the rare cancer.

"We followed Renee's fight with the family and what she went through wasn't nice," said Mrs Smith.

"When I saw the challenge I thought I could help other kids like her and also do something to support my own health and fitness.

"It just pulled at my heart strings and I signed up.

"Having kids of my own and knowing what Renee's parents went through, I couldn't imagine what I would do if my child had cancer."

Mrs Smith is riding a spin bike at her local gym and is up to 80km with three weeks to go.

"My goal first goal is 100km, the second is 200km and hopefully I'll get to the 300km mark," she said.

She has raised $570 so far and is aiming to raise $1000 in total.

"My kids, Lachlan, 12, and Katie, 9, go to Kin Kora and some of their friends know now too," she said.

"They are really proud of me and tell their friends at school."

Great Cycle Challenge:

  • 5150 riders Australia wide
  • 480,608km ridden
  • $1,234,035 raised
  • Kids cancer statistics
  • Cancer is the largest killer of children from disease in Australia
  • Three children die of cancer every week
  • 600 children a year diagnosed with cancer in Australia


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