LIKE most people, Marc Morrow knows people who've fought cancer.
Which is why the Gympie cycling teacher is gearing up to ride 200km in the third annual Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer to raise funds for the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.
He'll be joined by thousands of men and women with the same desire to make a difference.
Having a loved one affected by a progressive disease, Marc understands the sense of helplessness felt by family members who can only stand by and watch as the disease takes its toll.
"Families rely on medical staff, carers and counsellors to carry them through the journey," he said.
"For us mere mortals, an event like the Ride To Conquer Cancer is a way to make a contribution to research that can help future sufferers and their families.
"It's a proactive event with a practical goal. It helps people focus on the positive."
In preparation for the ride, Marc has been mapping out training routes through the Gympie region for weekend rides, starting from town and covering distances of between 50 and 70km with each ride.
"So far I've toured through Cedar Pocket, the Mary Valley and across to Rainbow Beach," he said.
"It's a beautiful region to explore by bike. You discover things that you wouldn't notice from a car seat."
On August 17 and 18, riders will travel 200km through Queensland's scenic countryside. Funds raised through donations will support breakthrough cancer research and the discovery of new therapies at QIMR.
Marc has set a personal goal to raise at least $2500. Anyone interested in making a donation can visit http://www.conquercancer.org.au, or call 1-300-11-RIDE.
All donations over $2 are tax deductible, and a contribution to Marc of $50 or more will place your name in the draw to win prizes courtesy of local businesses, Brooloo Park Eco Retreat and Tracey Devereaux Photography.
AT A GLANCE
Of the people Marc Morrow knows who have fought cancer, some have lost the battle, but others have won, and thanks to continued research the rate of cancer related deaths has decreased by 16% since the early 1980s, while the survival rate for many common cancers has increased by 30%.