18 September 2023

Thursday Island rider rakes in donations for Cardiac Challenge

| Sarah Martin
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Thursday Islander Matthew River raised almost $6000 for the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation in this year’s Cardiac Challenge.

The tiny community of Thursday Island got behind local rider Matthew River, who has just completed the gruelling 330km Cardiac Challenge bike ride as one of the top 10 fundraisers for the event, which injects millions into cardiac services for the Cape and Cairns.

Mr River, speaking to Cape York Weekly roadside at the finish in Cooktown on Monday, said the island had been hugely supportive in helping him raise nearly $6000.

“We did sausage sizzles and cake stalls down at the local Ibis (store) and of course everyone goes to the local Ibis so it’s the best spot to do it,” he said.

“I don’t have any family history of heart disease, but I’ve got friends up there, locals like Thomas Mosby who has just recently had heart issues, he’s just a good lad and I want to help.”

Mr River said it was a spur of the moment decision to take part last year but after enjoying the camaraderie he was hooked.

“The people in this event, I tell everyone, I can’t believe every single person here is a good person,” he said.

“Everybody is just amazing, the support and camaraderie, it’s just a really friendly challenge.”

More than 180 riders streamed triumphantly down Cooktown’s main street after collectively raising nearly $400,000 in the annual Cardiac Challenge.

With only a week’s training under his belt for the 2022 ride, which traverses the Mulligan Highway from Cairns to Cooktown over three days, Mr River said he spent a solid month riding his tiny island home before this year’s event.

“It made a huge difference doing the four weeks’ training I did, it still wasn’t the eight weeks like it should’ve been, but compared to one week’s training last year it helped,” he said.

“It was good for training, but also good for the island in general, it got people out and involved and interested in what’s happening.”

Mr River said interest had been high and he planned to bring a whole team from Thursday Island for next year’s ride.

Everyone who takes part in the annual fundraiser ride speaks of the great camaraderie and fun of the challenge.

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