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7 May, 2022


FORMER Olympic cyclist Annette Edmondson is getting back on her bike for a worthy cause, riding through Far North Queensland to raise awareness and funding for cancer research.

Annette Edmondson, Mark Smoothy, and Rowan Foster

Ms Edmondson has joined 60 riders travelling the beaches of Cairns, Port Douglas and the rainforests of the Daintree and Cape Tribulation for the five-day Smiling for Smiddy Challenge in the Tropics event. 

Mater has been staging Smiling for Smiddy cycling challenges for more than 15 years in memory of Adam Smiddy, a triathlete and physiotherapist who passed away suddenly from an aggressive melanoma in 2006. 

More than $13 million has been raised for research and in support of cancer patients and their families at Mater. 

Ms Edmondson said it was her first-time riding through the tropics in North Queensland. 

“When I heard Adam was just 26 years old when he passed away from cancer, it provided perspective and struck me as a young athlete – anything we can do to raise awareness and support cancer patients and their families is worth it,” she said. 

“I already had a ticket booked to Europe when I found out about the event and was trying to decide whether to stay and ride or continue with my European plans. 

“When my flight was unexpectedly cancelled, I knew that I was meant to be part of this ride, and I have been looking forward to it ever since.” 

Ms Edmondson, who competed in the London 2012 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics, said the event would be a challenge for any cyclist, whether a professional athlete or a hobby rider. 

“This ride is intended as a challenge, and every pedal stroke is for a reason that mentally drives you forward more and more each day,” she said. 

“You can meet some of the most incredible people while contributing to amazing causes, so I’m looking forward to meeting this particular group and having some fun whilst we try and raise some big dollars for the Mater Foundation.” 

Mater Foundation Director of Corporate and Community Engagement Rowan Foster said the Challenge was a reminder of the impact one life can make and the legacy left behind by his good mate ‘Smiddy’. 

Mr Foster became friends with Smiddy when the pair joined the same triathlon club at the University of Queensland. 

“The Smiling for Smiddy riding challenges have helped fund real game-changing breakthroughs at Mater Research for people with cancer and their families,” Mr Foster said. 

“Today, Adam would have had access to a range of treatments that could have given him a greater chance at longer-term remission and the opportunity for a longer life.” 

Since retiring from professional sport, Ms Edmondson has launched a sports management and mentoring business. 

For more information about the Smiling for Smiddy program, upcoming cycling challenge events, or to donate to Challenge in the Tropics, visit fundraise.   

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