Tuesday, 10 April 2012


18 Months ago I was fortunate enough to get to know two exceptional human beings. They were a Father and Son team and they loved cycling. Michael was 45 years of age, while Nic was just 14 at the time. In December of 2010 Michael lost his very short 3 month battle against the Melanoma. This is Michael and Nic's story.

Last year Nic you sadly lost your father to a very aggressive Melanoma cancer. As you know I lost my mate Adam Smiddy to this same cancer back in 2006 and Smiling for Smiddy Challenge events were formed. Can you tell me a little about your father, what date he passed away, how old was he, what he did for a career and when he was first diagnosed?

My Father passed away on the 13 December 2010 at the age of 45. He was first diagnosed with an aggressive melanoma in October of the same year, shortly after his birthday.

My father Michael Read was born in Suva, Fiji, and enjoyed his early years of childhood as well as attended primary school there. When Dad's family moved to Australia, he started high school at St Peters Lutheran College in Brisbane, where my twin sister and I currently attend. Dad had a happy, rewarding and successful life at St Peters. He achieved well academically and at sport including cross country and rugby.

At the same time he became a very competent sailor, with success in both river sailing and on the bay. In 1979, he proudly represented Queensland in national sailing championships in Tasmania. Sailing was important to him for the rest of his life.

In Year 12 at St Peters, which was in 1982, Dad was a prefect and a member of the 1st XV Rugby team. He was very proud of these roles.

During his schooling years at St Peters Lutheran College, he developed a very keen interest in computer technology. This led him to studying Science at the University of Queensland. During his university years he worked part-time in the St Peters Computer Department. Dad graduated from UQ in 1985, with a Bachelor of Computer Science, in the days where IT was a part of an exciting new industry. He began his career with Anderson Consulting, in the area of management consulting, where he met his wife Gai Wilson. Michael and Gai married in Sydney, in 1992.

Nic I first met your Father when we ran the Kiddy Smiddy event in 2010 and you were there, along with your Father. He was clearly in a lot of pain but was there to see you compete in the ride that day. Your Father told me his story and I was impressed with how brave he was. It was just a couple of months after that meeting in 2010 that he passed away. Can you share with me your thoughts of that day?

That day is a very memorable moment, as it was my first introduction to Smiling for Smiddy, which is now an important part of my life. I was able to make it that day as I was invited along by my great friend Ollie Clissold, who has been a participant in the Smiddy rides since the early years. It is interesting you say you noticed his bravery, because I saw that first hand every day, and I hope I’ve inherited some of it.

Nic, so the catalyst for you joining the Midi Smiddy was the passing of your Father. Can you share with us your sporting background and how long you have been cycling?

As my father was a keen sportsman himself, I was introduced to sport at a very young age. I began playing club soccer at the age of 5, which I continue to play currently. At the age of 12 I also took up cricket, which is now my primary sport. I was also introduced to cross country and athletics at a young age. In 2008, I placed 21st in the QLD cross country state championships.

Following being taught how to ride my first bicycle, dad and I used to go on rides every Sunday. These rides started off short, but as I got older they built up to being about 70km long. Dad and I loved spending this time together. I received my first road bike at the age of 14, following being selected in the Metropolitan West triathlon team to compete in the State championships.

Can you tell me a few of your most favourite memories of growing up with your Father?

Apart from going on rides every Sunday with him, which I mentioned earlier, I still recall the first time dad took me out on the bay in his sailing boat. Dad was a state champion sailor, and I always felt relaxed because I knew he was in control. Although I never took up the sport, I enjoy casual sailing, and was lucky enough to go with dad in 2009 to the Great Barrier Reef, where we spent a week on his boat!

Another thing about dad was he formed strong friendships with the parents of kids in my sporting teams because he would be at every training session as well as games - no matter what the sport.

Please tell me your plans for the future, what you would like to achieve from a career perspective, and also any sporting goals?

In the future, I would like to attend the University of Queensland and study a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science. I would also like to continue playing cricket at a high level in the district-grade competition.

Your fundraising is looking good, having raised over $1500 already. Can you share with my readers some of the ideas you implemented to raise this money and any other plans you have for further fund raising?

I have been lucky enough to receive very generous donations from family members as well as family friends; however I was also able to raise $825 in a single day where I hosted a barbeque at St Peters Lutheran College, where all students could purchase food and drink. Their kind and generous support was very overwhelming!

What is your fitness like at the moment Nic. Do you have any lingering doubts as to your ability to complete this tough ride of 560km in just 3 days?

That is a great question! I am still concerned about what I have signed myself up for, but I love a challenge, and have been working hard to make sure I will survive these 3 days. My training has composed of obviously clocking the miles up in the saddle (which I am a bit behind actually!), but also I have been working hard off the bike, as I am also needing to maintain peak performance throughout the soccer season. (There has been a lot of long-distance running involved!)

Any last words that you would like to add Nic?
I can’t wait to share the journey with yourself as well as the other riders Sharky!

Thanks Nic for your time and for sharing with us what is obviously a very sensitive subject. I hold you in awe and I know all the other riders will be inspired by your passion and dedication to do your bit in helping to fund cancer research.



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