The Star: May 16, 2019


The Star Thursday May 16 2019



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Jake’s cycle marathon for cancer research

• By Sophie Cornish

IF JAKE Bailey was given his

cancer diagnosis 25 years ago, he

believes he would have been left

to die.

But because of research, the

21-year-old was able to beat the

fastest growing cancer known to

man, Burkitt’s Non-Hodgkins

Lymphoma, and survived long

past his two-week prognosis.

Now only four years later, the

former Christchurch resident

who lives on the Gold Coast,

cycled almost 1300km from

Sydney to Geelong in hope of

giving others the same chance of


The former Christchurch Boys’

High School head boy made

international headlines in 2015

when he revealed his diagnosis

during an end of year speech.

Since beating his cancer

through chemotherapy and

announcing his remission in

January 2016, Mr Bailey has been

passionate about finding a cure

and says cancer research is the

reason he is alive today.

“Twenty-five years ago, the

type of cancer which I faced in

2015 was not treatable. That is to

say, if I had of been diagnosed in

1994, I would have been left to

die. There’s nothing the doctors

could have done for me. But

through the power of research

alone, I am still alive today,” he


On Saturday, Mr Bailey and

172 other riders completed their

nine days of cycling for Tour de


Mr Bailey is an ambassador

for the Australian charity, which

raises money to fund cancer

research, support and prevention


The trip he says, was the

equivalent distance from Auckland

to Wellington and back

again – with enough hills to have

climbed Mt Everest one and half

times over.

In total there were 232 riders

who took part in the event, 173

completed the full nine days with

30 others riding in stages and 29

as support crew.


Cancer survivor

Jake Bailey

spent nine

days cycling

to raise money

for cancer

research. He

rode stages

with Australian



James Tobin.




There was an average of seven

hours of pedalling per day.

“We would start getting up

at 5am and roll out at about

6-6.30am. Then we would ride

until sunset most days and have

stops along the way for food and


Mr Bailey admitted the event

was not as demanding physically

as he expected but was “far more

challenging” than he expected,


“We rode through some of the

most inhospitable parts of Australia,

sometimes in temperatures

of -7 deg C. We rode through

40mm of rain at one point . . . it

was pretty challenging conditions,

particularly after not getting

a huge amount of sleep every

night . . . I remember waking up

on a couple mornings dreading

having to get back on the bike,”

he said.

What made it easier was his


“We rode in groups and the

riders were shifted around day by

day . . . so you would ride alongside

different people and the first

question was always about the

‘why’. . . everyone has a cancer


“It makes it a lot easier when

you think about why you are doing

it and your reason for being

there . . . I don’t think I could

have pushed myself to those limits

and got up an rode through

those conditions and trained for

months for myself, I had to do it

for someone else.”

Mr Bailey said so far the event

has raised about $3 million. The

charity has raised $10 million

since the beginning of this year

through other events.

He hopes to complete the event

again next year.

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