Chris Parsons has been taking part in the Ride for a reason since 2011. This year he will dedicate his ride to his friend and workmate Michelle Russ who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016.

A SARDI research technician at the University of Adelaide Plant Research Centre, Michelle works alongside Ride for a reason veteran Chris Parsons.

“I’ve known Chris for many years and I know some of the people that he has dedicated rides to in the past who have done amazing things for this campus. I know that the role that I have here is important but it’s still very honouring and humbling to be recognised in such a way,” Michelle said.

Diagnosed with Breast Cancer in October 2016, the past 12 months have been particularly tough for Michelle. “I went in for a regular mammogram and then I was sent off for an ultrasound.  When the nurses got out a huge needle I knew something wasn’t quite right.”

“The whole thing happened within a week – by Wednesday I was in the surgeon’s office and by the weekend I was in surgery. I had a mastectomy and my lymph nodes removed.”

What followed for Michelle was 14 weeks of chemotherapy and 6 weeks of radiotherapy.  She has now finished the bulk of her treatment, however will remain on medication for the rest of her life.

Michelle has been inspired to be a guiding hand for others currently going through cancer. “There are so many people going through cancer or know someone going through cancer. If sharing my story helps others in some way, then that’s the best gift that I could give.”

Ride for a Reason is a fundraising focused ride where cyclists participating in the Santos Tour Down Under’s Bupa Challenge Tour can ride the same course as the professionals while raising critical funds for Cancer Council SA.

Chris is encouraging members of the Waite community to get behind Ride for a Reason. “Michelle is a long-serving employee at Waite. She started in the Uni’s Barley Lab and then came over to SARDI. She really need a lift and I am doing everything I can to show her that the people on Campus care.”

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018, Ride for a Reason is free to sign up for anyone who registers for the Bupa Challenge Tour, which will take part on Friday, 19 January 2018. Since it started in 2009, Ride for a Reason has raised more than $4 million in support of Cancer Council SA’s research, prevention, advocacy and support programs.

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