While many of us sat down to hot cross buns on Good Friday to start the long weekend, Kim Willocks took to her cycle machine to begin a 12 hour virtual Everest climb to raise funds for GI cancer research.
In March 2020, Kim’s father, Bill, lost his battle with cancer. During the three years of various treatments, Bill and his family stayed positive, until eventually, the cancer moved from his liver to the lining of his stomach.
“It was a big challenge for Dad as he had been relatively healthy for his entire life. It was a very invasive experience for him but he had the complete trust in his doctors throughout his journey.”
As an avid cyclist who had taken part in numerous endurance challenges, Kim only decided 4 days before the event that she would do ‘Everesting for GI Cancer research’. The challenge was undertaken to honour her father and to support the GI Cancer Institute, which was a cause close to Bill’s heart.
With the current climate of COVID19 and the need to stay home, this virtual challenge was a no-brainer for Kim.
“With us all self-isolating at the moment and many traditional fundraising options disallowed, we need to be thinking of ways in which we can keep the funds coming through for GI cancer research.”
The concept of the virtual Everest cycle is simpler than the actual climb. You start by picking your climb and then ride up and down in a single activity until you’ve ascended 8,848m – the equivalent height of Mt Everest. Using her indoor smart trainer and the cycling platform Zwift, she was able to complete the cycle in 12.5 hours! A truly incredible achievement.
“It was much tougher than I expected. About halfway through, with still over 6 hours to go I had to draw on a fair amount of support from family and friends, plus the memory of Dad to get me through.”
“The pain and discomfort that comes with this challenge is nothing compared to what Dad went through with his illness and treatment.”
Kim and Bill were both inspired by Bill’s oncologist, Dr Simone Steel, who will be taking on her own climbing challenge in May 2021. Simone and a team of six climbers will scale Mt Himlung in Nepal to raise funds for new, ground-breaking clinical trials research.
Thanks to Kim’s efforts and the amazing support of her family and friends, she raised over $3,000 which will help to improve the treatment options for people living with GI cancer.
“Cancer research and specifically GI cancer research is important to me because the disease takes too many good people like my Dad. There’s still so much to learn and I’m so pleased to be able to raise some money for this cause. I also hope to inspire others to come up with some other virtual ways to keep fundraising!”
If you are interested in taking part in your own BIG or SMALL virtual fundraiser for GI cancer research, contact us here: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 666 769.