Dad riding for son in Tour de Cure
HE MAY now be facing early starts and hours of punishing training on the bike, but the memory of a special little boy drives Michael McAuliffe on.
The 37-year-old father of five who lost his three-year-old son Conor to cancer in July 2006, will be among the 55 people riding for a cure as part of Tour de Cure.
The dedicated team of riders and support crew will take on a gruelling 10-day 1379km ride from Sydney to Melbourne in April, raising much-needed funds and awareness in the fight against cancer.
Mr McAuliffe said he had only taken up cycling seriously about six months ago. Now in preparation for the event he cycles between 400 to 500 kilometres a week, rising at the crack of dawn to go on training rides around Ipswich and Boonah.
Mr McAuliffe said the aim was to raise $1.5 million as a team for the cause.
The Silkstone resident has already raised close to $37,000.
“Funds have been raised through the generosity of all manner of people who have given everything from $20 through to the thousands,” Mr McAuliffe said.
“It is a cause everyone can identify with, because ultimately it is everyone’s worst nightmare, anything happening to one of their children.”
His little boy was only two when he was diagnosed with stage-four liver cancer.
Wife Sally McAuliffe said her son had faced 15 months of treatment which involved many rounds of chemotherapy, countless admissions to hospitals, numerous CT and MRI scans and multiple operations including one in which he had 70 per cent of his liver removed.
“He did all this with the cutest smile on his face. He was always incredibly brave,” Mrs McAuliffe said.
“He was a very special little boy.
“However he was not one of the lucky ones. His cancer did not respond well to treatment, and in July 2006, aged three years, our beautiful boy Conor died, leaving a hole in our hearts and suffering something no parents imagines will ever happen to them.”
She said it was the couple’s hope that through Tour de Cure something positive could come from Conor’s death.
“We would do anything to find a cure for cancer,” Mrs McAuliffe said.
“It is too late for our little man. We will always miss him and live with great sadness, but it is not too late for many other people.”
For more information on the event or to lend your support, visit www.tourdecure.com.au.