South Perth father rides more than 300km in Japan for cancer fundraiser


The members of Team Japan: Matthew Fitzgerald, Michael Fitzgerald, Darren Lewsen, Ben Reynolds, Hayden White and John White.
Eight-year-old brain cancer patient Sahara.
Matthew Fitzgerald with the ceramic cat honouring Sahara.
South Perth father rides more than 300km in Japan for cancer fundraiser
South Perth father rides more than 300km in Japan for cancer fundraiser
The members of Team Japan: Matthew Fitzgerald, Michael Fitzgerald, Darren Lewsen, Ben Reynolds, Hayden White and John White. Eight-year-old brain cancer patient Sahara. Matthew Fitzgerald with the ceramic cat honouring Sahara.

RIDING more than 300km in gruelling Japanese conditions was difficult for Perth father Matt Fitzgerald but nothing as hard as his daughter Abigail’s journey with brain cancer.

Mr Fitzgerald travelled to Japan last month with five others as part of The Adventurers Team Japan challenge, which included seven days of tough on- and off-road cycling for 324km, vertical climbing more than 6000m before finishing with a climb up Mt Fuji.

The Adventurers director said the group funded the costs of the trip and set out to raise $127,600 to help with medical research, discover better treatments and ultimately a cure for childhood brain cancer.

Currently sitting on more than $94,000 he hoped it would help other children and their families going through the same thing.

“Abigail was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013; luckily she has been in remission for three years, she was about four years old when it happened,” he said.

“It was a pretty ordinary sort of time.

“It’s all very damaging; some of the treatment routines are up to 25 years old and brain cancer hasn’t received much attention or funding.

“From a parent’s side it was hard but from there we came out of there looking to do something to where there was some hope and make sure some families had a better outcome than us.”

Dedicating the trip to eight-year-old Sahara, Mr Fitzgerald said he joined The Adventurers, which funded the establishment of the brain tumour research lab at the Telethon Kids Institute, to help Sahara and others in similar situations.

“Not only do they research into better treatment but they also do laboratory work for the hospital,” he said.

“We raise money for that cause in an active an adventurous way; people sign up to do arduous difficult and sometime dangerous thing and raise money off the back of that.

“Sahara is in hospital at the moment in ward 3B and she’s had fairly rough times during her surgery and through treatment.

“She can’t walk at the moment, her eyesight is impaired and she is currently finishing chemotherapy.

“She’s an absolute lover of cats so we brought this little ceramic cat and carried it all through the trip and took it up to Mt Fuji.”

To help Team Japan reach their target visit www.theadventurers.com.au.

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