Conor McAuliffe died from cancer at age three. Photo: Contributed
Conor McAuliffe died from cancer at age three. Photo: Contributed Contributed

Little Conor helped keep "little legs" going in tour

CONOR McAuliffe's unfailing happiness and love of his bike are immortalised as inspiration in the tortuous stages of the Tour de Cure.

Conor's parents Sally and Michael were in a six-person Ipswich team that rode 550km over four days in the event that finished on Saturday.

As the QT reported last month, the McAuliffes rode in Conor's memory after their happy, gorgeous three-year-old died from liver cancer in 2006.

They and their team mates, Melanie and Martin McBain, Troy Mayes and Paul Langton rode with the names of people who have died from cancer, those undergoing cancer treatment and those who have survived cancer strapped to their bikes as motivation.

But Conor created a special inspiration not only for Sally and Mick, but for many others.

"He had a saying when he used to ride his bike. He'd say to himself, 'Go little legs'," Sally said.

"That has become a bit of a team motto. I can't tell you the number of times that either we said it or someone on the team who didn't even know Conor said it.

"You'd be on a tough hill and you'd hear a little voice from the back, 'Go little legs.'

"Even with other teams, they all had support crews and you'd hear through the radio, 'Go little legs.'

"That's very special that he's remembered not just by us but the Tour de Cure has embraced it."

Organisers award a jersey each night for special achievements and there is a jersey for raising awareness of cancer and Tour de Cure and it is green because that was Conor's favourite colour.

"Michael and I wore that green jersey the first day which was really special to think he's making a huge difference," Sally said.

"But while Michael and I ride for Conor, we're riding for everyone.

"It's very special to look down and see all those names and know we are riding to make a difference and to remember all those who have lost their lives to cancer.

"That Mt Tamborine is hard. It's an unbelievably steep and long hill but you glance down at your bike and go, 'Come on, this is nothing compared to what they've done to get to the top. If they can, I can'.

"In our fundraising it was really special for people to be able to share their stories with us. When they gave us a name we'd put it on our bike and that was quite emotional as well. On my bike I had seven kids' names alone."

Sally said that meant lots of tears along the way but there were also plenty of laughs to make the ride a wonderful experience.

The Ipswich team raised $45,735 from a total of $165,000 for the tour with donations along the way - including $5000 to Ipswich Hospice - and the rest going to cancer research and prevention projects.

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