Bendigo cyclists tackle Tasmania to help Very Special Kids

A team of 22 Bendigo cyclists are taking the challenge of cycling around Tasmania from Saturday 20 to Friday 26 February 2016, to raise more than $50,000 for Very Special Kids.

They will cover 815 kilometres and climb over 12,000 metres during the seven days of cycling.

Very Special Kids currently supports 27 families in the Greater Bendigo community, by providing 24-hour nursing care at Very Special Kids Hospice and access to family support services through the Ballarat office.

It is hoped that with the funds raised Very Special Kids will be one step closer to opening an office in Bendigo, which would cost upwards of $100,000 to operate annually.

Stephen Iser, a member of the cycling group, said they are looking forward to contributing to their community through the Tasmania ride.

“We have chosen to raise funds for Very Special Kids to try and make a difference to the Bendigo families supported by the organisation.

“These families face many challenges and are not able to enjoy many of things us in the cycling group take for granted,” he said.

The Watson family from Bendigo is one of the families that will benefit from the group’s fundraising efforts. Seven-year-old William Watson and five-year-old Hamish Watson have an extremely rare genetic condition. The brothers are two of only six cases in Australia and 60 reported cases worldwide.

The condition, Adenylosuccinate Lyase (AdsL) Deficiency, has caused severe progressive neurological damage to both boys. They require wheelchairs for mobility and suffer from daily uncontrolled seizure episodes.

Mum Natalie Watson said the boys need constant care.

“Brian and I are their arms, legs and voice. We help them with every aspect of daily living, from dressing to feeding, monitoring for seizures and turning them over through the night to make them more comfortable,” she said.

The family turned to Very Special Kids for respite care at Very Special Kids Hospice, enabling Natalie and dad Brian Watson a break from their caring duties when needed, and counselling through their Family Support Worker.

Donations to the Bendigo Tour of Tasmania riders can be made at