COMMUNITY GIFT – Ridin’ 4 Mates

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This month the Complete Parts and @ The Coalface $500 Community Gift goes towards a group of riders hitting the road to raise money and awareness for brain cancer.

More than 40 riders will undertake a 565-kilometre quest on September 12 to go from Coffs Harbour to Bulga to raise awareness about brain cancer.

Ridin’ 4 Mates had its inaugural event last year and raised more than $50k for the Mark Hughes Foundation.

Event organisers Samantha Harris and Brad Bates have both lost friends and family to the disease and last year were determined to make a difference to support research and programs to help those affected, as well as their families.

Brad told @ The Coalface after last year’s ride from Tumut to Bulga that he was moved to start what has now become a community event to pay tribute to two great mates who were tragically lost to brain cancer.

All three had worked together as operators at the Mount Owen mine.

“My good mate Mick Ford passed away and then tragically we lost Gary Harris, or Dale as he was known to everyone. I promised when Mick died that I would do something to honour him,” he said.

For Samantha, it was the death of her father Dale that sparked her to join forces with Brad.

“Dad grew up in Bulga and lived there all his life and worked at Mount Owen until he died in 2020 after a two-year battle with brain cancer,” she said.

Brad said the ride was “all about honouring two of the most top blokes you could ever hope to meet”.

This year’s ride, in six stages, starts from Coffs Harbour on September 12 and will finish at the Bulga Tavern on September 17.

Samantha said a huge family day and fundraiser would be held to co-incide with the final stage.

“Last year we set a target of $10K and ended up at more than $50K, so who knows how things will go this year, she said.

The Mark Hughes Foundation is a non-profit, health promotion charity that the legendary former Newcastle Knight and his wife Kirralee began in 2014, after he was diagnosed with brain cancer.

“We began the foundation when we realised how underfunded brain cancer was in Australia in comparison to other cancers,” Mark said.

“The lack of funding meant very little research into treatments or cures for brain cancer and, as a result, not much has changed in the shocking brain cancer mortality rates over the past 30 years.”

To help Ridin’ 4 Mates, go to their Facebook page Ridin 4 Mates 2.

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