River To Reef... by Pushbike!

Imagine being told you’ve got an extremely rare type of Brain Cancer - Oligodendroglioma - which CAN be treated but not cured – with the average life expectancy from diagnosis to death – just ten years.

Would you draw up a bucket list of MUST-DO adventures to tick off?…  OR would you embark on an ambitious attempt to cycle 4000kms up the coastline of Australia to raise much-needed research funds to help doctors find new treatments to improve brain cancer patient outcomes.

Melbourne mortgage broker Anthony Moffatt better known as ‘Moffo’ got that cancer diagnosis in 2020 – now after life-saving treatment he’s half-way through this mammoth ride, with the help of his wife Arlene, and looks set to smash his $25k target for the Alfred Foundation’s Brain Research program.  

 
Prefer to listen?: Podcast version here;

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Full transcript here;

 

 TRANSCRIPT:

MOFF:
I don't really see myself as having cancer, to be honest, so I don't let that get in my way or stop what I'm doing…


VOICE-OVER:
Anthony Moffatt, known as ‘MOFFO’ to everyone, including his much-loved medical team at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital, doesn't look or behave like someone worried about how long he has until the tumour in his brain grows back.


MOFF:
Most people would say exercise is good for you, whereas on the other hand, sitting around feeling sorry for yourself would probably be at the other end of being good for you. and the idea of riding my bicycle up to Cape Tribulation for a fundraiser just seemed like a good way of paying back on something that I like doing anyway, riding a bike to raise funds


VOICE-OVER:
Halfway through the two month trip, Moffo is in Queensland’s Hervey Bay, after powering through an average of 100Km’s a day, sometimes much more, including a record day cycling 169K’s!


KAYE:
And what's the reaction been like? Are the donations flowing in?


MOFF:
Well, we're around $24,000 and the target is $25,000, so if we were able to exceed that target as far as possible, that would be lovely! But at this point, if we could reach the $25K that would be a milestone.


KAYE:
And that might be soon after Bundaberg, by the sound of things… So what are the highlights that you’ve noticed while you're cycling and what are the scary moments?


MOFF:
Well, the highlights would be the people that you meet, and the scary moments would be like the other night, I was coming into Tin Can Bay and I could hear this like a Tasmanian tiger, and I was thinking, what the hell?


MOFF: - Live To Camera on arrival at Tin Can Bay…
 I just got chased by a dog!.... When I came out of that dirt section onto the Rainbow Beach road, I could hear this… ‘pant pant pant pant!’ and I’m thinking what the hell is that!!???... It’s pitch black… what tha!! – So I sped up over 500mtrs or more and I go around the bend and the dog’s RIGHT THERE!
So I went ‘HOO HAAA HOO HA’ to try and scare it away. Luckily it was downhill… I gave it to it!... My God!!


MOFF:
And I kept riding as fast as I could until I got to the caravan park


Looking over my shoulder the whole way, thinking that it might still be there, even though I couldn’t see it. And in my mind, thinking, there's no way in hell this dog can run like that for  15kilometres, which is how far it was from when I heard it getting to the caravan park.
So that was probably the most terrifying part of the journey so far, thankfully, that there's not more.

KAYE:
Your support team must have been very concerned when you relayed this to them

I imagine there must be a lot of people supporting you on this?

MOFF:
Yeah, … (pause…)


KAYE:
I'm dropping a hint… (looking over to Arlene,…smiling!)


VOICE-OVER:
Arlene is his one-woman support team driving their caravan and leapfrogging her husband, taking turns to be in front or behind him to alert other drivers to watch out for cyclists… Not always successfully!

MOFF:
Probably for the last two weeks, I've had scabs from when I got hit by a car.


KAYE:
*GASP!*… You didn't mention that in the scary bit!


MOFF:
All right! (laughs)…. I think the dog was more scary! (both laugh) - So then, obviously, I had some war injuries that people would be like, “Oh, it looks like something happened”, which would trigger a conversation


KAYE:
I'm checking for plasters now… Bandaids


MOFF:
No they’re pretty much all healed up now. The rest was on my face but that's all cleared up since then!

KAYE:
And how do you manage to keep your strength up? Cycling that amount of time every day, you must burn a lot of calories.. So how do you keep that strength up?


MOFF:
Well, I do have a vanilla slice each day - If there is a vanilla slice (where I stop)


KAYE:
Vanilla slice addiction?


MOFF:
Well, I would say it's an appreciation rather than addiction, because I've got to find a vanilla slice that compares with my mum's vanilla slice, and there's some distinct categories that need to be fulfilled


KAYE:
Have any of them measured up?


MOFF:
One… just one!


KAYE:
Just one? Where was that?


MOFF:
It was in Salt Ash - It was Saxby's Bakery in Salt Ash in Port Stephens (NSW)…


KAYE:
Wow!


MOFF:
…and they cook on-site and they had a ten out of ten. Everyone else is, 9 1/2 out of 10 or less


KAYE:
Well the challenge is out there. So how many more weeks have you got to go until you get to Cape Tribulation?

MOFF:
I’d say there’s… umm 3 maybe 4 weeks to go and I should be there! There’s quite a few more vanilla slices between now & then!!! (laughs!)

KAYE:
Now a last question for you… What about sponsors? Who’s helping you along your way? Do you want to give them a plug?

MOFF:
Well, G’day Parks generously offered their caravan parks as accommodation along the way, so they’re the only sponsor that we have, but a very generous and appreciated sponsorship.


KAYE:
We're staying in one… It must be good!! 😊

MOFF:
Yes, exactly!


KAYE:
Well, that's very good, and we can't wait to hear how you go and when you hit that target, (of $25k) so promise that you'll stay in touch and we’ll keep people updated with your progress.


MOFF:
I will, thank you for that…


VOICE-OVER:
Moffo is philosophical that a break-through treatment probably won’t be found in his lifetime – but his dream and Arlene’s - is to raise as much money as possible so that future brain cancer sufferers will get better outcomes.  If you’d like to support them with a donation to the Alfred Brain Tumour Biodatabank which is a joint research project with Monash Uni – just follow the prompts onscreen or go to: http://fundraising.alfredfoundation.org.au/rivertoreef 



PODCAST VERSION:
 



(c) 2022 - Kaye Browne with Anthony Moffatt

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