Girls put a little heart into fundraising campaign
KEELY Mancini and Bec East are no strangers to the feeling of desperately needing assistance, but receiving nothing but isolation and anxiety.
Following the death of a neighbour in a rural town, and a personal experience with LifeFlight, the women decided, in 2016, to dedicate their time to raising funds and awareness for rural healthcare through an organisation called Girls Got Heart.
As a part of Girls Got Heart Ms Mancini, Mrs East and 31 other riders are taking on the trip of a lifetime, cycling over 750km in five days.
This year, the beneficiary for their efforts is LifeFlight - a service that saves the lives of thousands of rural residents every year.
"When you get out here you realised that if anything serious happened, that is the only thing they've got,” Mrs East said.
"If we don't fundraise for services like this, they're not going to exist, they're not going to continue and these people out here deserve it.
"We're used to having doctors at our beck and call, and we use them far more regularly than we probably should have. A personal connection drew us to LifeFlight and also just knowing the need.
"It's their lifeline.”
The team of 33 riders began their journey in Brisbane stopping over in Toowoomba, Dalby, Condamine and Roma before finishing the trip in Meandarra.
It was a no-brainer for the team when they were deciding back in 2016 how they would raise the funds.
"Cycling is something that we do together and something that we do well,” Mrs East said.
"We've done it for years and it's an easy thing for us.”
The women have set themselves a goal of raising $150,000 for LifeFlight, but more than that they want people who live in regional Queensland to know they are not alone.
"People that live out west and out in the country do really want to stay there,” Ms Mancini said.
"But it is hard, so I think it's really important, through Girls Got Heart, to let those communities know that people in the city do remember and think and care.
"When you're feeling quite isolated and times are quite hard sometimes just seeing a group of cyclists come through you think 'well they are doing something for us'.
"That's a really big thing for us to work on that connection and make sure that people know what we're doing and why we're doing it.”
To donate to the cause, go to the website www. girlsgotheart.com.au.