19 September 2023

Volunteers hooked after first Cardiac Challenge

| Sarah Martin
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First-time volunteers Silvana and Victor Maruca will be back to take part next year.

Washing dishes, pitching tents and packing up might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Mareeba’s Victor and Silvana Maruca are hooked after volunteering at their first Cardiac Challenge charity bike ride.

The couple, who recently moved to Mareeba from Cairns, joined up to support their son-in-law Dion Miller who rode with the Annie’s Army team.

“We thought we’d join the group because our son-in-law is riding and it’s a good cause, and now I’m thinking about doing the ride myself next year,” Mr Maruca said.

Mrs Maruca said despite watching the cyclists battle through 330km over the three-day ride from Cairns to Cooktown, her husband was still considering riding next year, and either way both would be along to support again.

“Now we know how hard it is, how much effort they put in,” she said.

“The people are amazing, how they’re getting through the ride to the end, there are some young kids too, this morning at Lakeland at breakfast they were all so keen.”

READ ALSO Thursday Island rider rakes in donations for Cardiac Challenge

Mr Maruca said the event was filled with wonderful people with the goal of raising money to support cardiac services in the region through the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation.

“It’s just a great cause and we met a lot of lovely people out there,” he said.

“The first night at Mt Carbine we did a bit of kitchen handing and cooking, the second night we were putting up tents and packing up, really anything they need.”

The huge Annie’s Army team was the second highest fundraiser for the event, with a whopping $25,763 raised, almost $5000 of which was raised by Mr Miller.

More than 180 riders took part in this year’s Cardiac Challenge charity ride from Cairns to Cooktown.

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