As part of the Cancer Council’s annual Ride for a Reason, the Visual Arts teacher at St Joseph’s School in Renmark clocked up 1000 kilometres on his bike during the month while raising more than $3000 for cancer research.
But perhaps even more importantly for Greg, 61, his involvement in the event serves to honour his dear friend, Tim Whitelum, who lost his battle with cancer in 2014.
Greg and Tim became lifelong friends after boarding at Sacred Heart College and then attending Aquinas College together. Tim was a prominent member of the Port Augusta community where he worked as a lawyer and was chair of the board of Caritas College for several years.
When Tim died Greg was determined that he would keep his memory alive through Ride for a Reason, which is run as part of the Tour Down Under event. It also means that every January he makes regular contact with the “tight knit” Class of 1976.
“Something like this is a good way of bringing people together for a worthy cause,” he told The Southern Cross.
“I think you die twice – when you stop breathing but also when people stop talking about you, and this keeps Tim’s memory alive.
“In trying to remember him I contact as many mates as I can that went to Sacred Heart and Aquinas and they have been very generous in sponsoring me over the years.
“In encouraging people to sponsor me I send emails and detail some of the old stories of what we used to get up to…we studied hard but we played hard as well!”
Greg said the Sacred Heart boarders formed a strong bond that had endured the ups and downs of life over the past 40 plus years.
“It’s been an amazing and great journey – and (the ride) has been a great way of continuing to reach out to your mates,” he said.
Due to COVID the format of this year’s Ride for a Reason was changed, with participants asked to nominate their chosen distance to complete during the month. Training up to 300km a week in the lead up to the event, Greg completed his 1000km target with several days to spare.
Taking to the sport about a decade ago, Greg is a member of the Berri Bike Boys, who have collectively raised thousands of dollars for the Cancer Council over the years.
“We call ourselves a Men’s Shed on wheels,” he laughed.
“Even though most of us are in our sixties we ride pretty hard, ride to maintain a quality of life – for our health and mental health.”Jump to next article