ANU cyclists have thrown their support behind an epic charity ride for cancer research, joining cyclist Chris Gruar as he nears the end of a gruelling 45,000km solo trek from London to Sydney.
Chris, 28, left England in March 2012 on a cycling expedition to raise money for the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR), which funds cancer research around the world, including at the ANU.
His ride is in memory of his mother who died of cancer when Chris was a child.
“It has been quite challenging, but people all over the world have been very hospitable,” Chris says.
“People have just opened up their homes and their hearts.”
Chris took an indirect route from London, making an 8,000km detour through Scandinavia and into the Arctic Circle, before cycling back through Europe and Asia. Along the way he camped out by the roadside.
“Its been quite tough obviously going for two years, and sticking on a budget,” he says, pointing out the petrol stove and few small bags of belongings that have made up his life for the past two years.
He aims to raise $30,000 for AICR to fund cancer research.
Chris will finish his trek in Sydney, and says he then plans to take a break and watch Australia win the soccer World Cup before re-establishing his teaching career.
About 30 ANU staff and students joined Chris for a casual ride around the ANU campus to show support for his fundraising.
Associate Professor Richard Callaghan, from the ANU Medical School, whose research into multi-drug resistance in cancer chemotherapy receives a grant of around $300,000 from AICR, joined Chris on the ride around ANU and then thanked him for his achievement.
The grant funds Dr Callaghan’s lab and three PhD students who are working on cancer research.
“Chris has done this noble event to raise money for cancer research, cycling 45,000km in what I can only imagine is some pretty inhospitable country,” Dr Callaghan said.
“It is truly an outstanding effort to cycle that far and go through what he has. As a scientist, it is truly humbling.”