Le Tour De Stanage – Will's mission for the PA
Marlborough's Will Stacey is on a mission to raise as much funds as possible to help the PA Hospital (PAH) care for people rehabilitating from a brain injury.
Will himself was a patient at the PAH's Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit (BIRU) following a car accident in 2009, with the amazing care he received inspiring him to give back to help BIRU and its patients years later.
For the second year running, Will, joined by some friends will ride an e-bike over 100kms from outside Marlborough to Stanage Bay in September, raising funds to give back to BIRU through PA Research Foundation's Team PARF platform.
Will Stacey (third from left) with last year's riding group
With Will and his fellow riders affectionately calling the ride the 'Le Tour De Stanage', Will said his goal is to build upon the $7,800 he raised with three mates on the first ride in 2020.
"The goal is to raise more funds and complete the ride again," he said.
"I want to help other patients, but also while I was at BIRU I'd go into the physio ward when I had no therapies on and I'd just ride their exercise bike for about 25kms every day and it was really good for me. So, I thought why not this do to help others in similar situations to mine."
With students from Will's former school St Brendan's College joining Will and three of his mates on the ride, the group will traverse back roads that take them through some beautiful but rugged countryside, with the roads themselves presenting a tough challenge for riders according to Will's friend and fellow cyclist Rupert Collins.
"There is some really nice country, you've got plenty of time to look around while you're riding, you're on your bike but the last 20kms is pretty hilly," Will said.
"Last year we left the bitumen at 5am and we got to Stanage about 11am so it's a big day, it's probably not the number of kilometres involved, it's more the number of kilometres over that type of terrain that is the challenge," Rupert said.
"In terms of the corrugations, the potholes and the washouts and loose gravel, it's a really challenging ride, then you throw on top of that the corrugations themselves and the vibrations that they send through the bike into your neck and your shoulders, that was the part that was the hardest for me last year over the course of the 100kms."
Will said being joined by good mate Billy Strike and Rupert, both in the inaugural ride and again this year helps spur him on to both train and raise funds.
"Their support, it means a lot; Rupert is one of Billy's mates, and it turns out that his mother was my librarian when I was at primary school," he said.
"I know Billy from school at St Brendan's, he lives in Yeppoon and he comes down for the ride, it's really good to have him riding beside me and getting to catch up with him."
Rupert and Darcy Collins
Rupert said Will has let his fellow riders know the impact of the care he received at the PAH, so they understand the cause they are raising funds for and how much it means to their friend.
"He has certainly spoken about how well he was treated there and the assistance the PA provided to him, and that has to be at the forefront of why we are doing it, this is his way of giving back," Rupert said.
"While we are from regional areas, when it comes to these serious injuries and conditons, we need to rely on the services that places like the PA provide."
The riders have organised special 'Le Tour De Stanage" jerseys for the ride which takes place on September 17.
You can help Will achieve his fundraising goals here.