Crestmead resident Helen Furness has signed up to ride 100 kilometers during the month of October through the Great Cycle Challenge to fundraise for children with cancer.
Helen said she had seen the devastating impacts of cancer in the lives of those close to her, and wanted to help others in similar situations.
“The reason that it’s on my heart to raise money for cancer – particularly kids with cancer – is because my cousin’s little boy died of a brain tumor when he was only six,” she said.
“I saw what she went through – it’s awful.
“If this money is going towards research and they can find cures, that would be amazing.”
Helen had her own brush with early-stage breast cancer in 2011.
She was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) which resulted in a mastectomy.
“I was very lucky I didn’t have to have chemo or treatment,” she said.
“It makes you realise there are kids out there battling very awful things – it breaks your heart.”
Before her major surgery in 2011, Helen struggled to commit to exercise.
“I wasn’t very fit; everything was hard,” she said.
It took 6 months to recover from her mastectomy, and found walking and lifting her arms difficult at first.
The rehabilitation exercises encouraged Helen to explore other ways to get fit, and she started out by following 20-minute HIIT exercises on YouTube.
“I fell in love with running, and in 2016 I ran a half-marathon,” she said.
Helen competed in an Olympic-distance triathlon in 2019.
Her husband Piers, who she rides with every week, would ride with her to support her on the challenge.
In June 2015 they completed a 14-kilometer race together at the City2South run in Brisbane and raised $500 for Diabetes Queensland.
In August 2017 they also ran a 10-kilometer race with their daughter at the Brisbane Marathon Festival to raise money for mental health.
“I don’t think I would have gotten into any of the fitness if I hadn’t had the surgery, so that was quite pivotal,” she said.
Her goal was to raise $500 for the Great Cycle Challenge this October to help children and families affected by cancer.
To sponsor Helen’s fundraiser and support children with cancer, visit Helen’s Great Cycle Challenge profile here