BOXES and boxes with jerseys filled the foyer in Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute, adding a bit of excitement and extra Friday motivation.
Senior researcher Sharon Olsen said it never ceased to amaze scientists the community's support for Ballarat Cycle Classic. This is the feature fundraiser for the Institute's work - work that is gaining in global recognition for fighting cancer with research.
Dr Olsen, who has been with FECRI for 16 years, has seen the Classic start with about 200 riders to what is shaping as a record year for entries in a targeted bid to tally $300,000.
"It's exciting to see it getting bigger each year," Dr Olsen said.
"We're always evolving what we're doing in the Institute and it's great to have the support."
We're always evolving what we're doing in the Institute and it's great to have the support.Dr Sharon Olsen, FECRI senior researcher
An ambitious benchmark was set at the event's launch in late November for a fully-fledged breast cancer research program. Melbourne-based philanthropist Mary-Paula Williamson provided the base funding and challenged Ballarat to polish this off.
FECRI, based in Federation University's central tech park, has already been making contributions to international research on immunotherapy targets for ovarian cancer and histiocytic disorders.
Discoveries made in the Institute also include: finding immune cells in walls of the bowel that can misbehave and release chemical messengers promoting bowel cancer; and, new methods to isolate new viruses.
Ahead of the breast cancer program, FECRI has 10 PhD students from Federation University and 11 senior scientific staff.
Dr Olsen has been involved in every Classic, either riding or volunteering, since the inaugural ride in 2007.
She will be back on her bike for the 28-kilometre adventure ride, heading out along the Yarrowee Trail to Gong Gong and back. Her daughter will ride laps of Lake Wendouree.
"The Classic is just a great way to get the whole family involved," Dr Olsen said.
To register to ride, walk or run, visit ballaratcycleclassic.com.au.
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