Cyclist defies ill-health to raise $1600

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Nicky Martin. Cycling with her dogs. She is in her 60s and is an ex-cancer patient. She is raising money for SPCA. The Big Easy cycle challenge 2017. Pictured in Napier. 15th April 2017 Hawke's Bay T

By Roger Moroney

Cycling 45km during last weekend's The Big Easy was never going to be easy for Napier woman Nicky Martin who has been battling several health issues - but she was never going to call it quits.

Not while there was money to be raised.

"The SPCA does such a great job and has helped me through a few things with my animals through the years - I wanted to do something for them," she said.

So as well as planning on getting the bike out to join the estimated 1700 riders who took part, Ms Martin also planned a fundraising factor.

She touched base with some friends and asked if they would like to sponsor her for each kilometre she completed and got the fundraising ball rolling when everyone she approached said they would.

But it was while she was seeing her dentist a few weeks before The Big Easy that she decided to also try out a few businesses as supporters.

"My dentist said yes, he'd sponsor me too, and I thought 'well there's one business'."

So she approached another business and they also gave it the thumbs-up.

"So I kept plugging away at it and ended up with 10 businesses on board as well."

Her initial aim, going on seeking $1 or 50c for every kilometre, was to raise about $300. After getting the businesses along for the ride she hoped for about $450.

However, she did not count on peoples' generosity - especially at the concert conclusion of The Big Easy where she wheeled her bike, with her rough-coated jack russells Pypa and Lacee happily in their little passenger box, around.

She took in an additional $500 and with a few more funds still to come in is looking at presenting the Napier SPCA with slightly more than $1600.

"People have been so good and they know it is for a very good cause."

Of the ride itself Ms Martin said it was challenging, especially as she still had stitches in her back.

"Into a headwind with two dogs on the back it wasn't easy but I was not going to give up."

While she done The Big Easy before she said she needed special motivation, given her health issues, to do this year's one.

It was to raise money for the SPCA as well as take on the challenge despite her "sore bits" which fired her up.

And will she take part again next year?

"Of course I will," she said, adding she would again do her bit for the SPCA - kilometre by kilometre.

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