BORDER nurse Liam Forrest is gearing up for an epic solo bike ride.
The Albury Wodonga Health employee will cycle 600 kilometres in six days to support the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre Trust Fund.
Setting off from Mildura on July 20, Mr Forrest will follow the Murray River and stop at communities on his way back to Albury.
He wants to raise at least $5000 and spread the word about the importance of regular health checks.
Mr Forrest, who was also involved in the successful 24-hour Sunshine Ride, said he has lost three grandparents to cancer.
He said he had been touched by many cancer patients he had cared for through his work in the Albury Hospital emergency department.
"We had one elderly gentleman who came in with chest pain and it turned out that he had tumours all through his lungs," Mr Forrest said.
"He was only given a few weeks to live.
"His wife had gone home so I sat with him for an hour or so after my shift and we shared an apple juice together.
"It was pretty overwhelming; he reminded me of my grandpa."
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As a member of Adrenaline Boxing and Conditioning, Mr Forrest took part in the hugely successful Sunshine Ride, which raised $36,600 for the cancer centre in May.
He described it as being "emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting" for the six teams of five who clocked up more than 4000 kilometres on exercise bikes over 24 hours.
But Mr Forrest said it was the passion of the riders involved in the challenge, and some of their personal experiences with cancer, that inspired him to hold his own fundraiser.
"That motivated me to do something more," he said.
"So many people are either directly or indirectly impacted by cancer, so why stop there if I can make a bigger contribution to our local cancer services."
Mr Forrest also encouraged people to have routine health checks.
He said if they noticed any unexplained changes in their body, then they needed to talk it over with their doctor promptly.
All money raised by Mr Forrest will stay local and help fund new services, facilities and research at the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre.
"This is so important as it will mean that more people in our regional community will be able to get the cancer treatment and support they need close to their home and families," Mr Forrest said.
To show your support for Mr Forrest's upcoming fundraiser visit: give.awcancertrust.org.au/fundraisers/liamforrest
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