By Melissa Blewitt
Australian Tour de France Cyclist, Mark Renshaw, signed on as its Ride for Country Kids 2021 Ambassador.
The event will start on Sunday, 2 May in Dubbo, then the riders will cycle 400 plus kilometres, visiting Narromine and Nyngan, and finishing in Cobar on Tuesday, 4 May.
Mr Renshaw, a ten time Tour de France rider, top sprinter and number one lead-out man for Mark Cavendish, will join 76 dedicated cyclists as they ride and raise funds for country kids.
Mark’s most notable wins are the general classification of the 2011 Tour of Qatar, also the one-day race Clásica de Almería in 2013, but perhaps he is most famous for his 1-2 finish on the final stage of the 2009 Tour de France with his teammate Mark Cavendish.
A Bathurst local and father, Mark is all too aware of the challenges that country communities can face to access vital developmental and mental health services, and of how Royal Far West’s support can make a difference to the lives of many kids and families.
As Ride Ambassador, Mark’s cycling-royalty profile will help the charity to raise awareness and vital funds to support country kids to access the health care they need to reach their full potential.
“Coming from country NSW, I’m really looking forward to being a part of the Ride for Country Kids 2021 and partnering with Royal Far West to support kids in rural and remote areas to get the help they need,” he stated.
Established in 1924, Royal Far West is one of Australia’s most enduring and respected charities dedicated to connecting kids in rural and remote communities to the care they need. In the last year, Royal Far West has seen a significant increase in the demand for its services.
Right now, 180,000 plus children across rural and remote Australia have health and developmental needs that can’t be met because of where they live. Currently, 156 children from rural and remote NSW are waiting to access the charity’s Paediatric Developmental Program (PDP).
The program is designed for children with complex developmental and mental health challenges to stay for a week at Royal Far West in Manly with their family.
Each child will have access to a multidisciplinary team that includes a Child Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Social Worker, Dietician and Oral Health Services to understand what may be going on with the child from a developmental and mental health perspective and provide an assessment and pathway forward.
Royal Far West relies on funds raised from donors and supporters from events such as the Ride to help fund this program.
Royal Far West says that raising $450,000 will help fund all 156 places on the PDP waitlist.
“We’re thrilled to have such a high-profile cyclist as Mark to join our team to raise funds and awareness of the inequity country kids and families face in being able to access developmental and mental health services,” Royal Far West’s CEO Lindsay Cane AM explained.
“Being hit with drought, bushfires, COVID-19 and floods, country areas are doing it tougher than ever, and more families and communities are needing our help.
“Please get behind Mark and our riders and donate. All funds raised will support the developmental and mental health of children and their families in rural and remote communities”.
Support Royal Far West to give hope to country kids at www.rideforcountrykids.com.au