Meet Pat Jonker, your Ride for a reason team trainer
Pat Jonker is a legend in the world of South Australian cycling. A two times Olympian, 2004 Tour Down Under winner, and five times Tour de France rider, Pat was a professional rider from 1993 to 2004 and has taken part in events around the world—but it’s Ride for a reason which continues to have a special place in his heart.
A Ride for a reason Ambassador, Pat has been involved in the event since it started in 2009 as both a participant and a coach, following his Tour Down Under win in 2004.
“During my first few Tours it was known that my mum was going through breast cancer so when Cancer Council SA asked if I could help out and become a coach for the team after I retired I never hesitated. Twelve years later and I haven’t looked back.”
“It’s been great, but also at times very sad. I’ve seen too many people pass away throughout the years which makes me even more motivated to come back every year.”
Pat has become an integral part of Ride for a reason, supporting riders by holding monthly training rides, providing tips on how to become a more effective rider and going out into the community sharing why Ride for a reason is more than just a cycling event.
For Pat, the event is not only a chance to raise money, it’s also a chance to meet new people and join together for a common cause.
“The best part of the event is meeting the riders every year and listening to their reason. The training rides are by no means a race; those days are far behind me! They are a chance for us to get together, share stories and exchange fundraising tips.”
Throughout the years, Pat’s motivation remains clear. He rides for those he knows impacted by cancer, which in recent years, has included his best friend and riding partner Peter Montesi.
Pat and Peter met in 1984 cycling around the hills in Adelaide. Pat had just moved back to Adelaide from Amsterdam and was training for the professional cycling tour.
“Not many people rode their bikes back then and Adelaide was definitely a car-worshipping city—completely opposite to Amsterdam, so to meet someone in Pete with the same dreams and ambitions was great. We headed to Paris together to pursue our dream of racing the Tour De France and we raced together in the amateur ranks all the way around France.”
The pair continued to ride together until 2011, when Peter learned some life-changing news. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare form of blood cancer that affects the plasma cells and bone marrow. Currently, there is no cure.
“Before Pete’s diagnosis, I thought of cancer as a disease that mostly affects older people, so when Pete got diagnosed in his late 40s it was quite a shock. I never thought someone so young, fit and healthy could get cancer.”
Pat says Peter’s strength is now become the driving force behind his annual Ride for a reason campaign and encourages other cyclists to register and find their own reason to ride.
“I’m thrilled to be involved in the event again this year by supporting Cancer Council SA and leading the Ride for a reason charge. Even though the route might be challenging, it’s nothing compared to the challenges faced by those impacted by cancer, which motivates me to come back year on year and ride for the ones that I love.”
So what are you waiting for? Sign up to Ride for a reason today and get the chance to learn from Pat Jonker, one of the best in the business, through his monthly training rides.
Meet fellow riders
"In mid-2009 and I was told that I was living with stage 4 bowel cancer, had years left to live and would be on chemotherapy for the rest of my life. My diagnosis ignited a passion in me to do everything I could to fight off this dreaded disease and it’s that passion that has remained with me ever since that day. Riding became my escape, with Ride for a reason becoming a yearly tradition. Every year, I gather with a group of riders to form ‘Team Mishmash’, a literal mishmash of people from across SA, all with different stories and different backgrounds but one clear passion—to raise money towards a cancer free future. I credit my cycling, together with a healthy lifestyle and visits to my naturopath, for allowing me to outlive my diagnosis. Even when I’m on treatment, I still like to get out on the bike as much as I can. For me, it’s pure freedom."
"It was just after Easter 2012 when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. When I was diagnosed, I took it as a real ‘boot in the bum’ and decided to start taking care of myself. Running my own business, I was always tired, exercised irregularly and survived on 3–4 hours of sleep too often. Following the operation, I changed my diet, cut down on alcohol and paid attention to what I ate and lost weight. I also started cycling and have continued my fitness regime of cycling 100km a week for the past six years. In January 2018, I celebrated five years cancer free and it was this personal milestone that motivated me to sign up to Ride for a reason for the first time. For me, Ride for a reason is a chance to celebrate this gift of healing for our family and also give back and fund further research towards a cure."
"Like so many people I’ve been personally touched by cancer too many times, losing family members and friends to the disease. In 2017 my mum Marian was diagnosed with cancer for the third time in her life. Mum has a little known condition called Gorlin syndrome which, amongst other things, causes the individual to develop multiple skin cancers. It usually starts in adolescence—for Mum it started with her first skin cancer aged 18. She’s continued to have multiple skin cancers removed (now in the 100s) requiring her to have reconstructive plastic surgery many times. It also means that these individuals are more likely to develop other cancers. In Mum’s case in 1999 she developed breast cancer requiring a mastectomy and then in 2017 ovarian cancer for which she is still receiving treatment. Thanks to the advances in treatment through research already completed, she is still living a fulfilling life aged 80. Mum’s been an inspiration in the way she has dealt with the challenges cancer has brought her way. So, inspired by Mum, and in memory of Carolyn (sister-in-law-breast cancer aged 35), her son Stephen (brain tumor aged 10) and Vicki (dear friend- breast cancer aged 52) I’m riding to continue the fight against cancer."
"I can’t imagine much worse words to hear than ‘I have cancer’ from a loved one. The fear, uncertainty and emotional distress that comes from that is unfathomable.
I am glad to say I have not heard those words, but if I did, I want to know that organisations like the Cancer Council are there to support me and my loved ones through the difficult time. Offering accommodation, transport and most importantly, support to answer any questions is worth its weight in gold. I support Ride for a reason to help the team at the Cancer Council, enabling them to support to those who need it most."
Training rides calendar
Join Pat Jonker and Cancer Council SA’s Ride for a reason team on the last Sunday of each month.
The next ride is:
Sunday, 27 October
Departing Cancer Council (202 Greenhill Road, Eastwood)
Route 1: Norton Summit to Victoria Park, via Mt Lofty
Route 2: Eastwood to Semaphore Park via Glenelg Beach
Route 1 Route 2
Before joining us on your first Training Ride, please ensure you have signed the Rider Indemnity Form and returned it to Cancer Council SA via email.
Your form will be kept on file for all future 2020 training rides.
Watch this space...
Tips for boosting your fundraising
When you sign up to Ride for a reason, you will get access to some tried and tested fundraising tips and tools, as well as access to a dedicated team who are here to support you to reach your fundraising goals.
Here are our simple tips and ideas from our expert team to help make your fundraising easy and successful.
- Log into your Fundraising Dashboard and update your personal fundraising page with your reason for riding and your profile picture.
- Set the benchmark and show you’re serious by making the first donation and then ask your existing network of friends, family and colleagues to follow suit.
- Facebook, Twitter and emails can be a huge help. Use your Fundraising Dashboard to send emails using either the email templates we’ve built or send your own emails out of your Fundraising Dashboard
- Explore ways to use your own interests to fundraise; offer your handyman or gardening skills, provide a service such as dog walking or run a mega car wash day.
- Thank, thank and thank your supporters! Let them know how grateful you are, and do it as personally as you can, no matter how big or small the donation.
Quick and easy
- Give something up for a week like chocolate or coffee or take your lunch to work and donate the money you save.
- Sell a service—be the office coffee runner for a week.
- Ask for donations instead of Christmas or birthday presents.
- Set up a swear jar at home or work.
- Have a casual clothes day in the office.
Needs a bit of planning
- Run a BBQ at your local Bunnings or Mitre 10.
- Organise a Movie Night and sell tickets.
- Host a quiz, bingo or karaoke night or talent show.
- Host a dinner party and sell tickets or ask friends to donate the money they would normally spend at a restaurant.
- Have a garage sale or sell unwanted items online.
Up for a challenge
- Set a big personal change, like giving up chocolate, coffee or alcohol for a month.
- Shave your hair or dye it a wacky colour.
- Get your workplace to dollar match every dollar that you raise—don’t be scared to ask the question, there are lots of workplaces that do it.