First Heart and Lung Transplant Victoria cycling challenge
Written on the 14 April 2014
The Heart and Lung Transplant Trust Victoria completed its first nine day cycling challenge, the Tour de Transplant on Sunday, March 30. I was there to welcome the first group of riders - lead by champion, Phil Anderson and the Victorian Police Homicide Cycling Team - as they rode into Melbourne’s, Fawkner Park.
The Tour de Transplant route took cyclists from Melbourne to Geelong, up through Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton and Albury, across the Victorian Alps to Gippsland and back to Melbourne. The length of the ride was significant. Each kilometre represented one of the 1,100 Victorians who have benefited from a heart or lung transplant since 1989 and the route allowed cyclists to visit the towns where these people live.
The challenge raised a much needed $200,000 for the Second Chance Accommodation Program. All the funds will go towards subsidising eight units used for regional and interstate transplant recipients during their three month recovery and rehabilitation. These apartments allow patients to live within walking distance of The Alfred Hospital - which is Australia’s leading transplant hospital and where an average of 90 organ transplants are performed each year.
In addition, the Victorian Coalition Government has provided $20.8 million over the next four years to increase organ transplantation and retrieval services in Victoria. Health funding is at a record $14.3 billion in the 2013-14 budget.
The Victorian Coalition Government will also provide $335,000 to fund the 14th Australian Transplant Games event which will be held in Melbourne in September, 2014.
HLTTV is a not-for-profit association whose membership consists of heart and lung transplant patients, recipients, their carers and families.
Pictured with some of the 25 riders who participated in the inaugural nine day Tour de Transplant cycling challenge.