Springfield woman takes on inspiring cycling challenge
HOW does someone go from being a social cyclist to riding 562km in 12 days over rough terrain through Vietnam and Cambodia?
Springfield's Kate Hawkins didn't know the answer - and doubted she could - but found it in Alzheimer's Australia (Qld)'s inaugural Charity Cycle Challenge.
The ride is a challenge for even the fittest of cyclists but Kate, the client services manager for Alzheimer's Australia (Qld), proved to herself that mind over matter isn't just a cliché.
"It's hard to sum it up because I have never had an experience like that before and never would I have thought that I would ride a bike for that long and enjoy it so much," Ms Hawkins said.
"It was amazing the morale in our team and, because we were all very passionate about why we were riding, it was electrifying in the group about our purpose there and obviously John keeping us focused about what we were doing.
That was the biggest thing; it was really touching.
"On the personal side, sometimes we do sometimes get into our routine of life and we don't challenge ourselves a lot and one thing about prevention of any form of dementia is living well and trying to challenge your brain and challenge your body.
"That's what I personally came away with but obviously the team and the experience was just unbelievable.
"So glad I've done it now."
Probably the prime motivator in the group she rode with was one of her clients, John Quinn, who has Younger Onset Dementia.
Mr Quinn was diagnosed at just 59 years of age and he is living proof that people can live well with dementia.
"There's no cure for dementia, but this doesn't mean that life stops with a diagnosis," he said before the ride.
"I've always been active and I like to challenge myself physically whenever I have the opportunity, and living with dementia shouldn't be a barrier to me participating in the Memory Cycle Challenge.
"Setting a goal to complete the challenge has allowed me to stay motivated and continue my exercise routine, which ultimately benefits both my body and my brain."
Kate said that what she lacked in physical preparation John helped her make up with the emotional inspiration.
"I've known John for two years now and obviously a lot of why I was doing this was for him," she said.
"He did a lot of training beforehand but I was there to support him through this challenge.
"With his dementia, being able to comprehend some of those conditions was a little bit difficult for him so he need me to step in.
"So very much so it was that side of things that kept me going and kept me motivated.
Then the physical stuff just came naturally after that."