Conquering cancer

CLOSE to the third anniversary of her diagnosis with breast cancer, Heather McAlpine of Kiama will join a 200km bicycle ride to support the revolutionary Chris O'Brien Cancer Centre.

Mrs McAlpine has hosted a fund-raising clothes swap to help her collate the minimum $2500 she needs to take part in the Ride to Conquer Cancer on October 13-14.

Mrs McAlpine and her son Matthew, 20, will attempt the two-day ride, which leaves from Olympic Park in Sydney and heads to Camden. Riders will camp there overnight before heading back through the Macarthur region to the city.

While chemotherapy left Mrs McAlpine with damaged lungs, she still includes cycling as part of her fitness regimen and is is confident of completing the ride.

In March she took part in the Hope Street Urban Compassion 650km ride to the top to Mt Kosciuszko in support of the Breast Cancer Network.

"Cycling is a great way to be out there in nature, and it's good exercise as well," Mrs McAlpine said.

Knowing first-hand the benefits of a healthy mind and body on cancer recovery, she said she fully supported the Lifehouse Cancer Centre at RPA.

The centre is the vision of surgeon Chris O'Brien, who succumbed to a malignant brain tumour in 2009. It will offer clinical care; surgery, medical and radiation oncology as well as integrative medicine and support for public and private patients, their families and carers.

Mrs McAlpine said the philosophy behind the centre was inspiring.

"It is such a ground-breaking thing to have holistic/complementary medicine on-site with the hospital," she said. "So many people going through cancer are just farmed into the chemotherapy/radiation journey but there is much more open to them."

■ To contribute to Heather's ride visit, go to "team lilly" and search for Heather McAlpine. You can also make a cheque out to Ride to Conquer Cancer and address it to Heather at 8 Brown St, Kiama, 2533.

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