Road warrior powers on for special cause

Robert DoughertyBroome Advertiser

Lone ranger Jack Totino rode into Broome last week as he attempts an unsupported “tour de Australia” to raise money to find a cure for motor neurone disease.

The 18-year-old completed the halfway point in Broome after starting his national circuit in Melbourne in February this year, in honour of his friend’s dad, who died from MND in 2014.

Totino, who has ridden for more than 75 days, averaging about 100km in each and has raised more than $42,000 for the FightMND charity, said he had finished school and was working as a barista when he decided to take on the task.

“My mate’s dad passed away in 2014 from MMD after a three-year battle,” he said.

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“I felt inspired to try and make a difference and I’ve always enjoyed riding bikes — why not do something insane and raise money for a good cause.

“I think I’ve changed as a person, seeing myself halfway around the country now, I have to finish it and get through it.”

With five months expected on the second half of the journey, Totino will head to Kununurra, Katherine and Darwin, then onward to the east coast before the finishing leg in Tasmania.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported me — mostly it’s complete strangers who have welcomed me into their house and cooked for me,” he said. “(They’ve) let me wash up and have a sleep — even bike shops along the way, like Broome Cycles, who repaired it and serviced it free of charge.

“On the road, it means a lot.”

To keep up with Tontino’s journey visit ridearoundaustralia on Facebook or www.mycause. com.au/page/127125/ride-around-australia-fightmnd. “I laugh with myself a lot over anything (on the ride), passing cars who give me a weird stare — I have a chuckle,” he said.

“You think of so many things that you run out of things to think of, and yeah, it can get frustrating because you can find yourself repeating things in your mind.”

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