Cassie on a mission to conquer cancer

Gearing up to ride in the hope of conquering cancer L-R Sara Bowers, Peter North,
Amanda Walker, Cass Hebbard, Claire Evans, Braeden Hyland, Jacinta Williamson, Lucy Bowen, Crystal Wemyss and Natalie Wemyss.

Gearing up to ride in the hope of conquering cancer L-R Sara Bowers, Peter North, Amanda Walker, Cass Hebbard, Claire Evans, Braeden Hyland, Jacinta Williamson, Lucy Bowen, Crystal Wemyss and Natalie Wemyss.

Halls Gap's Cassie Hebbard saddled up alongside strangers for a common purpose last year - a Ride to Conquer Cancer.

This year, she will lead a team of 16 riders, most of which are Halls Gap residents as they seek to raise almost $50,000 for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the only public hospital in Australia solely dedicated to cancer.

They've already managed to raise $10,000, however, they still need to raise $39,000 in the next few months to reach their target of $49,500.

The 2014 Ride to Conquer Cancer to be held in Melbourne on October 25 and 26 will be the third annual event of its kind with all funds raised going straight to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Ms Hebbard lost her grandmother to cancer and has been determined to make a difference to the lives of people touched by it ever since.

"Almost five years ago my beloved Gran passed away after her body was taken over by cancer," she said.

"This was the first slap in the face for me, since then every day I have been surrounded by people who have or have had cancer.

"These people are strong, courageous and in my eyes amazing."

Ms Hebbard is familiar with the training and effort required after her participation in the event last year. She said her team has been diligently preparing to undertake this year's charity ride.

"This event has changed the way I view life and taught me that I really can do anything - but it is more than that," she said.

"It is riding with survivors, it is cheering each other on, it is raising the much needed funds and donating to an amazing cause and facility."

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is Australia's only public hospital solely dedicated to cancer and one of an elite group of hospitals worldwide to have its own integrated cancer research program and laboratories.

Ms Hebbard is well on her way to achieving a personal tally of $3,200 with $2,500 already to her name.

"I have pledged to ride the 200 kilometres of this ride and raise at least $3200 in the hope that the future generations do not have to know cancer as well as we do," she said.

Ms Hebbard is still encouraging anyone who may be interested in jumping on a bike and pedaling for a good cause to get behind the event.

"Take the plunge, join me today. As a team we are capable of so much more and I promise to support you 100 percent - do it!" she said.

The team's name Jaam Jaam is Nepalese for 'let's go'.

One in two Australian men and one in three Australian women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Ms Hebbard said the figures present a pretty scary prospect.

"Cancer is the second leading cause of Australian deaths and affects almost 20 percent of the population," she said.

"More than 43,000 people are expected to die from cancer - these facts are too extreme to ignore.

"I will be riding in honour of my Gran and the countless relatives, friends and extended family and millions of people who are diagnosed with cancer each year."

If you would like to know more about Cassie's fundraising effort or donate direct, visit http://ml14.conquercancer.org.au/site/TR/Events/Melbourne2014?px=1282825&pg=personal&fr_id=1141.

The Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is open to anyone who wants to challenge themselves while at the same time make a difference for a great cause.

Even people who haven't ridden since they were 12. All you need is a bike, a helmet and a commitment to make a difference.

For more information on the event head to www.conquercancer.org.au or call 1300 00 RIDE (7433).

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