BIG RIDE: Smiling for Smiddy cyclists Joel Staite, Prof Brian Gabrielli and David Colahan stop in Wondai for lunch.
BIG RIDE: Smiling for Smiddy cyclists Joel Staite, Prof Brian Gabrielli and David Colahan stop in Wondai for lunch. Jessica McGrath

'Like rock stars': Cyclists ride for hope in cancer journey

JOEL Staite's ride was about ensuring others might have the same opportunities in their cancer journey.

The Smiling for Smiddy participant said his first 1600km ride from Townsville to Brisbane was all about giving back.

"It's nice to feel like you can give back after you've been given so much help over the last year,” he said.

The group of cyclists passed through the South Burnett on Friday and were raising awareness and money for cancer research.

They stopped in many regional towns and visited schools to spread the sun safety message.

"We've been treated like rock stars, but we're just a bunch of cyclists,” Mr Staite said.

The Brisbane man, who had enjoyed cycling and riding for the past 15 years, was diagnosed with a kidney cancer three years ago.

Mr Staite took the opportunity to do the fundraising ride when he regained health and strength from experimental treatment.

"My health is a direct result of that research,” he said.

"I'm so thankful for this sort of thing, as every bit towards research counts.”

The ride was also an opportunity to make the most out of his life.

He encouraged families touched by cancer to do the same.

"Have a positive mindset and try to live in the moment, living everyday to the fullest,” Mr Staite said.

Fellow cyclist Brian Gabrielli is also a Professor at the Smiling for Smiddy Melanoma Research Group.

"It's great to hear the stories and be reminded why we do what we do,” he said.

He said the ride was important in raising awareness in regional areas and crucial in research funding.

"The money you provide is going towards cancer research in Queensland,” Prof Gabrielli said.

Philosophical funding like the ride is crucial as government funding is not expanding at the rate needed to keep up with the research.

"We'll see if we can't make life better and find the cancer sooner and with better treatment,” he said.