In 2010 Jonathon Wheeler organised a three day trek as part of his Gold Duke of Edinburgh program. On a frosty morning in June five adults and four kids set off on a 210klm mountain bike ride from Armidale through the magnificent eastern fall forests, down the escarpment on to the mighty Macleay River winding our way to the clear blue waters at the beautiful fishing village of South West Rocks. The ride was so successful it needed to be shared with our communities.
The tour was born and the Tour de Rocks organisation established. Tour de Rocks mission is to engage and inspire communities to raise awareness in relation to cancer prevention through healthy living, assist those battling the disease and raise funds for cancer research.
In 2011, 320 participants took part in the event raising in excess of $100,000. The event has continued to grow, despite a pause in 2020 / 21 (as a result of COVID-19) and has now raised over $1.7m (to 2020) for cancer research, awareness and prevention programs.
We had over 400 participants for the 2022 event. A great turnout given the challenges of holding the event.
No matter what challenges are thrown our way – drought, fire, flood, landslides, etc. we do whatever it takes to keep the great work going and do our bit.
Tour de Rocks is focussed on keeping our expense base as low as possible. With 14 board members, around 17 subcommittee members, that provide the governance, drive and resources necessary to manage our extraordinary events.
Nothing compares with community spirit and generosity when the call goes out that we need a hand. The volunteers, donated equipment, resources and product required to feed and water in excess of 500 people has to be seen to be believed. The catering team has become legendary.
Whilst our primary focus is Cancer, there are many parallel activities that strengthen the Tour de Rocks reputation as a worthy cause. We provide the opportunity for people to give something back to our communities, the opportunity for people to do something they thought unachievable, and significantly an activity that brings families together through common objectives building memories that will last a lifetime and will be drawn upon when times get tough. There are very often tears at the finish line when people realise what they have achieved not only through completing the ride, but also successfully fundraising and contributing to their communities.
In 2021, Tour de Rocks partnered with the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia for the inaugural “19 for 19 Challenge – A Walk for Anya’s Wish”. The 19 km walk (and a 5 km option) are in honour of Anya who passed away in 2020 at the age of 19 from a high grade metastatic Osteosarcoma (an aggressive tumour that grows in the bones of the body). Anya’s family are working with the CCIA and have established a research project. The aim is to raise $600,000, over 3 years, for a world leading critical research project to significantly improve therapies and survivability for your people diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. The 2021 event raised $130,000 and we are hoping that amount is topped in 2022.
We are well placed to continue our growth and be able have a significant impact on cancer within our communities
We look forward to catching up with you at the ride, or one of our other functions and events.