14 January 2018
The Berri Bike Boys have taken part in Ride for a reason for the past seven years, raising over $50,000 for Cancer Council SA. In 2018, the event will take on a new meaning as the team rides for one of their own.
The team first took part in Ride for a reason to support those close to them diagnosed with cancer.
“Our motivation was clear—we all knew someone who had been impacted by cancer and wanted to make a difference,” explains team member Greg Reeks.
The team was gearing up take on the 2018 Ride for a reason when they found out some devastating news—one of the Berri Bike Boys, Kevin Deakin, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Glioblastoma. Kevin explains how he first realised something might be wrong.
“I was having a few headaches and found I was struggling to make decisions and wasn’t sure why. Then one night, I was riding my bike and didn’t ride down my street to go home. Something didn’t feel right so I went to my GP, had a scan and two days later was in surgery.”
Kevin’s cancer is so aggressive, the average lifespan for someone diagnosed is just 12 months. Despite the bleak outlook, he is determined to beat the odds and within a week of his surgery, he was back on the bike with the team by his side.
“As soon as we found out the severity of the cancer, we knew that we had to be there to support Kev,” explained Greg.
“We describe ourselves as a sort of ‘men’s shed on wheels’. The comradery between us is very special. We look out and care for each other in a big way and even when we are riding, we make sure that no one is left behind.”
It’s this commitment to supporting each other that is the driving force behind their 2018 Ride for a reason campaign.
With Kev joining them on their weekly rides, the Berri Bike Boys have committed to making their 2018 ride the best one yet.
Kev explains how, through riding, he is able to remain positive throughout the toughest of times.
“We ride four times a week, averaging about 200km. I also walk every day with my wife. I’ve found that through exercise I’m able to better release the toxins from my treatment and it also makes feel better mentally.”
When asked about the team’s pledge to ride for him this year, Kevin’s response is one of thanks.
“It feels really special. On my first ride back the whole team got together to ride with me and show their support. There were those that came down to ride that haven’t ridden in years. It was great to see so many faces there and it inspired me to keep going. I’m going to keep riding for as long as I can and will hopefully be able to take part in the event in January with the rest of the team.”
Speaking on behalf of the Berri Bike Boys, Greg says the team’s message to others is simple: live every moment, be with your mates and the people you love and do what you love doing with them.
“Every ride is precious because we all know Kevin’s time with us could be cut short if he does not respond positively to his treatment. The cancer he has is very aggressive and is sure to return.”
“Your time with your loved ones is so special,” says Greg.
“Kevin loves riding and being with his mates. It is our time together. He is with his close friends who he needs more than ever during his time. His mates are giving him strength and purpose to remain strong and positive during this anxious and unsure time for him.”
“There is tremendous loyalty and mateship between the riders which is inspirational. It’s very important for all the riders to ride with Kev and be with him. Every ride is special now. Every ride counts.”
Established in 2009, Ride for a reason is a fundraising-focused ride where cyclists participating in the Santos Tour Down Under’s Bupa Challenge Tour can ride the same course as the professionals while raising critical funds for Cancer Council SA.
Since it started, Ride for a reason has raised more than $4 million for Cancer Council SA which has helped to fund ground-breaking research, accommodation and support services, advocacy programs and live-saving prevention initiatives.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018, Ride for a reason is free to sign up for anyone who registers for the Bupa Challenge Tour, which will take place on Friday, 19 January 2018.
To find out more about the Berri Bike Boys and support their 2018 ride for Kevin visit www.rideforareason.com.au and search for the ‘Berri Bike Boys’.