By Melissa Sheil
MAKING a difference in a vulnerable child’s life is what 68-year-old Alan Cressie will be thinking of as he cycles the length of Australia later this year.
The Forrestfield resident is one of 31 cyclists gearing up for the Ride for Compassion: Coast to Coast journey, a trip aiming to raise $600,000 for Compassion Australia, a not-for-profit sponsoring children living in poverty and COVID-19 related hardship around the globe.
Starting at Cottesloe on September 18, the team will ride 4181km across the Nullabor, finishing on October 20 in Newcastle, NSW.
Mr Cressie, who works as a primary school Indonesian teacher, has set his personal fundraising goal at $10,000 and wishes to promote the sponsorship of Compassion children.
“I see a lot of inequalities in the world that have really been exposed by the pandemic and feel a strong urge to help, to do something about it,” he said.
“We live in a such a paradise and have been truly blessed with many things and, so it is my desire to support children that have very little.
“Being an Indonesian teacher, I have a connection to the country and seeing the people and children there suffer in poverty and being hungry due to economic strain of the pandemic is very hard.
“If I can do a little bit of cycling to help them out even a little, I will.”
Mr Cressie has been training for several months, at first only completing 40km a week but now managing 150km, the average travelling distance for a cycling day on the trip.
“I’m a bit nervous as I’ve not done anything close to this distance before,” he said.
“I’ve done Perth to Mandurah for Conquer Cancer before, but this is a fair bit longer.
“Luckily we’ll have support trucks with us the entire time to keep us safe and the comradery should help get us through.”
The cycling team will be riding for six hours a day, stopping in 27 rural towns to promote the Compassion message and rest, sleeping in gymnasiums, caravan parks and with church families.
Mr Cressie said the support generated for his cause has been brilliant, having already raised $5100 personally and $285,318 as a team.
“Friends, family and colleagues have been so great,” he said.
“Some of the guys from church chipped in to buy me a new bike since my last one wasn’t a great fit.
“I had a young boy who was raising money by collecting bottles and cans give me $12 which was very sweet.
“Any bit given makes a huge difference to the Compassion kids, so if you can, please donate.”
Visit rideforcompassion.raisely.com/alan-cressie? to donate.