GEARING UP: Robert Gemmell keen to ride around the nation for the Starlight Foundation.
GEARING UP: Robert Gemmell keen to ride around the nation for the Starlight Foundation. Raymond Choong

Cycling for children's smiles

TWO cyclists travelling 15,000 kilometres across Australia, will be stopping off in Emerald on May 14.

Robert Gemmell will be joined by Raymond Choong and a film crew from Griffith University, as they strive to raise $1million for the Starlight Foundation.

Robert and his team have key goals in mind that they want to achieve over their journey.

"Raising money has to be the primary aim, without the money the charity can't do anything,” Mr Gemmell said.

"We'd also like to raise as much awareness as possible, one about the existence of Starlight and their mission to put smiles on sick kids faces.

"Hospitals where they have a Starlight room, children get a lot of respite there away from the trauma they experience.”

The idea for Robert to raise money for charity originally started from a discussion on the beach, but he soon got a shock when he did a little more research.

"Originally a friend and I came up with the idea sitting on the beach after a few drinks,” Mr Gemmell said.

"Then when we went around the hospitals in those days where anyone could see the sick children, when we looked at the faces of the 10 or 12 year olds and saw them going through cancer treatment, their parents were so distressed.

"It really pulled on the heartstrings and we went 'oh my god, this is what we are raising money for'.”

From that experience, Robert's motivation behind this upcoming ride has simply been just raising money for sick kids.

"What really motivated us was the size of the check we were able to hand over and the appreciation of the families and the kids of what we did,” Mr Gemmell said.

"That was the single best motivating factor for this event, just raising money for sick kids, that's what we want to do.”

Emerald can welcome Robert and Raymond when they arrive at the Emerald Explorers Inn around 4.30pm May 14, and depart May 15 at 7.30am.

Donations can be made by heading to cyclethenation .com.