Beechworth Bakery founder Tom O'Toole driven to raise $100,000 for cancer charity
Beechworth Bakery founder Tom O’Toole is someone who is not afraid to dream big.
He's also not afraid of a challenge, nor an adventure.
So if taking on a 7443 kilometre trek, which includes Australia's most easterly and westerly points, isn't crazy enough - and his m Keith McIntosh are doing it in a 1930s A Model Ford.
The pair rolled into Echuca on Wednesday, admittedly a little late and after a few mechanical issues, but with beaming smiles nonetheless.
The trip will take them 30 days, a feat made even more remarkable, given that the vehicle travels at a maximum of about 50km/h.
But behind the beaming smiles, there is a serious issue at the heart of the trip.
Tom and Keith have ste the ambitious task of raising $100,000 for the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Centre.
Mr O'Toole said Keith and himself were both touched by cancer and keen to gt the old van back on the road, having previously driven the Birdsville Track with it.
“Keith has been my best mate for most of my life, and to both of us the old A Model feels a bit like the third member of the party. The old girl is 87 years old and prone to breaking down; just as well she’s always easy to fix. On a good day we will average around 45 kilometres an hour, on a great day we'll average 50… simply because there’s a tail wind."
“We’ve been doing a few mad trips together over the years, trips people said couldn’t be done, and we did them anyway. Just because we could. We both like a good challenge and we can put up with each other’s company while tootling along endless roads at a snail’s pace.
“Both Keith and I have lost friends and family to cancer, and since this might be the last trip of our ‘awesome threesome’ we thought we’d make it count by raising some money and awareness for cancer research.
“I’ve always been a huge believer in supporting good causes, especially in a regional context. So to do this whole thing knowing we’re doing our bit to help support the fantastic work the institute does is a real bonus!”
Cancer is something that touches many families, with current rates, it is expected that 1 in 2 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.
The Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute is a world class cancer research facility based in Ballarat, Victoria. As Australia’s only regionally based cancer research centre, it is non-government funded, and relies on the generous support of the community to continue research into more effective ways to diagnose and treat cancer.
An online fundraising page has been created. For more information on the trip and to donate, visitwww.easttowest.com.au. All donations over $2 are tax deductable.