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It’s a jungle out there helping Camp Quality

Ashley Heckels is riding from Cambodia to Vietnam for charity Camp Quality.
Ashley Heckels is riding from Cambodia to Vietnam for charity Camp Quality. Brendan Bufi

PEDAL, pedal, pedal. Ashley Heckels knows he must pedal. Has to get his way along the road, has to get to that magical somewhere destination.

It'll be a special trip, cycling from Cambodia to Vietnam.

The wife's not coming - that's just plain bad luck, nothing he can really do.

And this is not some selfish trip about some self-absorbed Hervey Bay real estate agent, either.

This is a journey of discovery, undertaken for charity. It's an act of selflessness, undertaken for the sole purpose of raising money for Camp Quality - and to help some people who need it on the way.

It started for the 41-year-old in tragedy. His little girl, Olivia (now four), was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was a few months old.

His world rocked, knocked him off balance, and when he found his feet again he realised he could make a real difference. What a gift.

"(The trip) was advertised to do through Camp Quality, for people to do to fundraise, and I always wanted to do something to try to give back to them," he said.

"You know, I've done things with the Leukaemia Foundation and Shave for a Cure, but with Camp Quality, they've done so much for us, I wanted to give back to them."

Pedal, pedal, pedal. Ashley Heckels knows he must pedal. But dads - and parents as a rule - are often flying blindly.

There's no manual for life once kids come and everything changes. The sleep becomes less, the time poor.

He has no idea of what to expect cycling from Cambodia to Vietnam. All he knows is he's part of a group of about 15 or so.

He hasn't a clue whether the terrain will be torturous hills and bumpy goat tracks.

He's preparing for this trip like a father would, too. Training has been whenever and whenever he has a window not filled with work or family commitments.

September is when he's leaving, and now it's not all that far away - time to get moving.

He has no idea whether he'll crash and burn with an outbreak of chafing, or whether he'll come home all muscles and tan, ready to sweep his wife off her feet - again.

The one thing he is sure of, though, is he's been blessed with a gift to make a very real difference, and he knows to do that he must pedal. Pedal, pedal, pedal.

Topics:  cambodia fundraising ride vietnam



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