SMILES ALL ROUND: Excited students and teachers at Thangool State School greet the Smiling for Smiddy riders on their fundraising adventure.
SMILES ALL ROUND: Excited students and teachers at Thangool State School greet the Smiling for Smiddy riders on their fundraising adventure. Aaron Goodwin

Journey for lost mate

A PELETON of riders passed through the Banana Shire raising money and awareness for melanoma research.

The communities of Baralaba, Thangool and Biloela played host to a stopover for the Smiling for Smiddy Road Crew who are making their way from Townsville to Brisbane, educating the public and raising awareness and funds for an issue that hits close to home.

Smiling for Smiddy founder Mark "Sharky” Smoothy started the ride in 2006 to honour the passing of friend and triathlete Adam Smiddy, who died from an aggressive melanoma at just 26 years old.

"We give people an understanding on why we're doing ride, because we lost a mate to melanoma,” Mr Smoothy said.

"We're trying to raise funds for research so we can stamp out that cancer.

"We've raised over $10million dollars since we've started and this journey we're hoping raise just over $300,000.”

Currently the crew has raised around $260,000.

Professor Brian Gabrielli is a professorial research fellow and is the head of the Smiling for Smiddy Cell Cycle Research Group at Mater Research.

Taking part in the ride himself, Prof Gabrielli said being directly involved with cancer research he understood the value the Smiddy ride brings.

"I think everyone knows someone who has had a cancer or died of one and this is just raising awareness that people are keen to do something about it,” he said.

"As a researcher, yes, we need the funding and it is going to make a difference to what we do.

"On many levels the Smiddy ride does something important in the regional areas where perhaps you get a bit overlooked.”

Biloela's Anthea Boyd has been billeting riders at her place for several years and she's proud of the continued involvement the community has with the Smiddy ride.

"Since 2006 they have made Biloela and Thangool part of the stops every year,” Ms Boyd said.

"We've been hosting Smiling For Smiddy for over 12 years now as a community.

"There's been a lot of money raised for research and awareness.”

To donate towards melanoma research, head to Smiddy.org.au.