In April this year, Paul decided to take on a new challenge – a 600km bike ride in just seven days, all to raise funds for children and young people at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH). Thanks to the support of Lifestyle Communities, an over 50s lifestyle living community in Victoria, Paul’s fundraiser was a resounding success, raising over $70,000 for the hospital.
“My wife and I moved to Lifestyle Deanside in 2021. After we had moved in, we learnt that the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Lifestyle Communities, James, is very focused on giving back and founded the Lifestyle Communities Foundation, where they will match, dollar for dollar, any donations that support cancer based charities that are raised by their residents. So, when I initially thought about doing a bike ride to raise funds, I thought why not tap into the Foundation,” said Paul.
The result? Paul’s aptly named Tour de Lifestyle, which kicked off at Lifestyle Deanside on Saturday 1st April and stopped at 17 Lifestyle Communities across the state.
“We started at Deanside and rode north towards Lyndarum and then headed east. On day four we went east to Warragal before heading down to Hastings on day five. On day six, we caught the ferry across the bay and did the four Communities down Geelong way before heading back to the western suburbs and finishing back at Deanside on day seven.
“That last day was Good Friday. The weather was lousy and I was tired – it was a real mental challenge to get back on the bike. But I remembered why I was doing it and when I finished, I felt such a sense of achievement,” said Paul.
By the end of the seven days, Paul had raised $35,802.85 through donations and community fundraising events. This amount was matched dollar for dollar by the Lifestyle Communities Foundation, resulting in a $71,605.70 donation to the RCH.
“The total raised was beyond what I initially thought – my initial goal was $10,000 – but Lifestyle Communities really got around it, as well as my colleagues and friends, so it ended up being a really pleasing result.
“I’m also grateful for the support from residents across the Lifestyle Communities who not only donated but rode with me. We had various people ride with us from community to community, probably about 30 at different stages. Laurie from Ocean Grove Lifestyle also rode the whole journey, which was great support. I could not have done the ride without my support crew from Deanside – my wife, David and Linda, John and Alyse and the amazing team at Lifestyle,” he added.
When asked why he wanted to support the RCH, Paul’s answer was simple, “This was never about me; it was always about the kids.
“I’ve always had a soft spot for the RCH. As an adult I’ve had a pretty fortunate life, and my children have been pretty healthy and well but through my ambulance days, I’ve been to the RCH and have seen the work they do so I thought, why not try and give these children a life like I’ve been fortunate enough to have.
“I hope that my small effort can support the hospital and kids. I am proud that the money raised will go to research, medical facilities or patient and family centred care that will allow them to have a better future,” he said.