CHEF Paul Williams rides to promote early detection and awareness in the hope no family has to go through what he has experienced.
Sixteen years ago this week, Mr Williams’ mother Emma died after a decade-long battle with breast cancer.
Emma was 53 years old.
“Making people aware of research is really important. Mum was a soldier and would’ve done anything,” Mr Williams said. “...There wasn’t strong early detection back then. This ride is all about early detection and research to hopefully find a cure one day."
The Le Peche Gourmand chef is a face of a new Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute campaign for the upcoming Ballarat Cycle Classic.
Mr Williams was 22 years old when his mum died. He rides the 30-kilometre mountain bike trail each year with son Noah, age 10, in her memory and said his son now understood the significance of why they ride.
“I love just being part of something positive, something that makes people aware, something that makes people take action,” Mr Williams said.
I love just being part of something positive, something that makes people aware, something that makes people take actionPaul Williams, Le Peche Gourmand
A keen mountain biker, Mr Williams said he loved being outdoors and tackling a trail challenge.
Works are well underway to transform Creswick into one of the state’s top mountain biking destinations. Development has started with a pump track, which is a small BMX track with bumps.
- READ MORE:Creswick becomes mountain bike mecca
Mr Williams, who is part of a steering committee for the Creswick trails, said the growing boom in mountain bike tourism was great for tourism in the region. His boulangerie and patisserie was already experiencing notable peaks with workers creating the trail calling in every morning and lunch.
Ballarat Cycle Classic offers 30km and 50km mountain bike challenges, taking in Black Hill trails to give participants a taste of the discipline.
A member of VOGA cycling group (Village of Old Goldfields Associations), Mr Williams is also considering backing up his mountain biking with a road ride in the Cycle Classic next year – all in the name of cancer research.
FECRI is the only regional cancer research institute in Australia and has made internationally recognised work, most notably in immune studies.
The Institute employs nine PhD students from Federation University and 10 senior scientific staff working primarily in research into chronic lymphoid leukemia, ovarian cancer, histiocytic diseases and immunology.
FECRI started in a paintshed at the back of St John of God Ballarat Hospital 20 years ago and is now housed in a modern, world-class facilities in Ballarat Tech Park. It also plays host to visiting international professors.
- READ MORE: Malthouse back to ride for a good cause
The institute’s new television campaign, featuring stories of Ballarat people affected by cancer, will air from December 10.
Registrations for Ballarat Cycle Classic on February 17 are open online: ballaratcycleclassic.com.au.
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.