ACU public health student Amy Hatherall is preparing to embark on the greatest challenge of her life to raise funds and awareness for a cause close to her heart.
The distance from Melbourne to Cairns is 4000 kilometres: for Bachelor of Public Health student Amy Hatherall cycling the 45 day trip north in the name of raising money in the fight against cancer is just one part of her extraordinary journey.
In her second year of study at Australian Catholic University (ACU), Amy has undertaken a major role in the building of a charity hoping to make an impact on the national stage, with the challenges off the bike as daunting as the 4000 kilometres on it.
Steer North is a fledgling health promotion charity, raising awareness and funds to combat cancer and support those fighting the disease, with the inaugural Steer North Ride event taking the message across the country.
At just 22, Amy is the chair of the Steer North community engagement committee, overseeing the task of working with the communities the ride will pass through to hold fundraising and education events.
Despite the magnitude of playing a leading role in the building of a charity, Amy has found support and guidance from within ACU and the learnings from her course.
“This has been a bigger task than I could ever have imagined, but I’ve been really fortunate to have great people from ACU supporting me and also the benefit of being able to put into practise what I’ve learnt in the classroom,” Amy said.
“At times in has been daunting to lead a committee and take on so much responsibility as I’ve never been this involved with an organisation before, but the support I’ve got from the Steer North founders and people at ACU has given me the confidence to take on the challenge.”
This has seen ACU staff and fellow Public Health students become involved in building Steer North, led by lecturer Penelope Smith and researcher Koki Miyazaki from the School of Allied Health.
The fight to eliminate cancer is something close to Amy’s heart, and she sees the importance of healthy living as a key preventative measure.
“The reason I was drawn to Steer North was the impact cancer has had on my family. I’ve lost three aunties and two uncles to cancer and have many other family members who are currently battling the disease,” Amy said.
“I look at this as an opportunity to raise funds for cancer research and patient care, which impacts on my family, and to become as fit and healthy as I can be to help reduce my chances of getting cancer.”
Training demands for the endurance bike ride continue to grow, with the riders expected to complete 100 kilometres a day as they climb up the east coast of Australia. The ride starts in Melbourne on 3 December and finishes on 16 January 2017.