The 2020 Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW Ride for Sick Kids finished with a trip from Taree to Forster.
The team left Club Taree early on Friday morning, September 11, for a trip down the Pacific Highway to the Ronald McDonald House family retreat in Forster and back.
This was the fifth and final trip for the week.
Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW chief executive Ross Bingham was part of the support crew. He said the charity was pleased the ride went ahead despite the coronavirus crisis.
"We didn't actually expect to have the Ride for Sick Kids this year so we're very grateful we've been able to ride it and still raise some valuable funds for children and families across this region," Ross said.
"In this COVID climate, Ronald McDonald House has been majorly impacted in the fundraising area and we can't do what we do without having funds to do it.
"Being able to pull off an event like Ride for Sick Kids this year has been very valuable for us and every dollar is going to make a difference to support families and children."
In what resembled le Tour de France, Taree's Ivor Thomas was handed the yellow jersey to lead the pack through the course.
The 'home turf' advantage meant added responsibility on the roads.
"I'm the one who is leading everyone around (today)," Ivor said before the ride.
"At least these are roads I'm familiar with and there's a few hills the guys aren't sure about."
The team battled rain and strong winds throughout the week. Dark rain clouds hung overhead as the group headed for Forster.
"It's been challenging but it's always a good week and a lot of fun," Ivor said.
"There's been a lot of headwinds... I don't know how that happens when you're doing a loop."
A visit to the family retreat reiterated their purpose for completing the ride.
"For the riders particularly, sometimes we can be a bit disconnected from what we're actually doing this for so to be able to see the retreat and the families makes things a bit more real and gives it context as well," Ivor said.
In this COVID climate, Ronald McDonald House has been majorly impacted in the fundraising area and we can't do what we do without having funds to do it.Ross Bingham
"It's not so much about the ride but the charity and raising the funds we need to be able to deliver the programs. The fundraising is the most important thing and donations are happily taken at any time."
Ross said two families are currently enjoying a free holiday at the retreat this week to rest and recuperate following their children's stint in hospital.
"A lot of families in this area use Ronald McDonald House (in Newcastle), sometimes for 300 or 400 days... it's hard to believe how long families need to be away while their child is sick in hospital," Ross added.
"Having Ronald McDonald House there, where they can take a break and live a normal sort of life while their child is in hospital is very valuable for them."
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