FINDING a cure for brain cancer has been Randal Bishop’s mission in life since his teenager daughter was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in April 2009.
Shaynae Bishop’s death three months later, at just 17, ended a life full of promise, but the gutsy girl from Lower Wonga will always be remembered for her strong will and determination – a personality trait she inherited from her parents.
On April 30, Mr Bishop will set off on a 1000 kilometre bicycle ride to raise for the Cure for Life Foundation to fund brain tumour treatment and research.
“I can’t help Shaynae but I promised her I would continue to help find a cure,” he said.
Shaynae Bishop’s controversial decision not to have surgery was upsetting for her father, who would have given anything to have more time with her.
Hiding his grief, Randal Bishop promised his dying daughter he would do everything he could to help find a cure for brain cancer.
True to his word, he is the founder of the Bridge to Bridge Cycle Charity Ride – an eight day, 1000 kilometre ride from Brisbane Story Bridge to Sydney Harbour Bridge.
On April 30, Mr Randall and another 14 riders, including Gympie’s tandem cyclists Kev Irle and Tony Breadsell, will set off from Brisbane.
Mr Breadsell is a blind cyclist whose goal is to use his disability to raise awareness as well as money for charity.
Shaynae was diagnosed with an aggressive, inoperable brain tumour and given one month to live after waking up with a headache in April 2009.
She was given a one-in-four chance that surgery would increase her life-expectancy but the risks outweighed the possible benefits and Shaynae opted for quality of life, not quantity.
This was featured in Channel 7’s medical series Last Chance Surgery with the first episode following Shaynae’s visit with acclaimed neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo, her decision to come home, and her final days before her death.
Shortly after losing Shaynae, Mr Bishop organised a fundraising cycle in her name and raised about $25,000 for the Cure for Life Foundation.
Such was the success of Shaynae’s Ride, the foundation asked Mr Randal to make it an annual event and so the Bridge to Bridge Cycle Charity Ride was born.
Mr Bishop completed Shaynae’s Ride from Gympie to Sydney on his own in 2009. He was not able to afford going on his own again so it was decided the charity ride would be ridden in a group and have a name change to reflect it being a broader fundraising event.
“My time is spent now trying to raise awareness of brain tumours,” Mr Bishop said. “I tried to write a book about Shaynae with the plan to donate the profits to Cure for Life but it became very hard for me.
“She will always be a part of the ride. I would have liked to keep the name as Shaynae’s Ride but we needed people to relate to the name for it to be a successful annual event.
“My aim is to help other families who are going through the same thing we did... and hopefully one day I will be able to say I helped find a cure for brain cancer.”