Cessnock team Whatever It Takes enters Starlight Foundation Tour de Kids

INSPIRED: Emily Munn (left), Sophie Stapleford (top right) and Jessica Stapleford (bottom right) are taking part in the Starlight Foundation's Tour de Kids charity ride throughout September.
INSPIRED: Emily Munn (left), Sophie Stapleford (top right) and Jessica Stapleford (bottom right) are taking part in the Starlight Foundation's Tour de Kids charity ride throughout September.

Hundreds of cyclists around Australia - including a trio from Cessnock - are hitting the nation's roads, trails and tracks during September to raise funds for the Starlight Foundation.

Jessica Stapleford, Sophie Stapleford and Emily Munn have entered the Tour de Kids challenge as part of the team What Ever It Takes, and say it has been nice to get out on their bikes and have a bit of fun during lockdown, while raising money for a good cause.

The Starlight Foundation aims to raise more than $1.2 million from this year's ride, which will go towards delivering happiness to over 30,000 sick kids across Australia.

Tour de Kids encourages riders of all ages and abilities to hop on a bike, beat their personal cycling goals and help raise funds for Starlight's vital in-hospital services including Captain Starlight and Starlight Express Rooms.

Jessica and Sophie are each aiming to ride 200 kilometres this month, while Emily has set a massive target of 500 kilometres.

As a child care educator, Jessica said she is always inspired by those who care for children, in particular those who care for sick children.

"Organisations like the Starlight Foundation need support from people like me and the wider community so that they can continue to do what they do best," she said.

"It is a privilege to help these children and their families during difficult times."

Sophie, who experienced her own health battle when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2015, said it was an "easy decision" to participate in the Tour De Kids - especially given the extra difficulty these children are facing during the pandemic.

"These children are in their own lockdown every single day while they fight their own battle of serious illness. The smallest of gestures really does go a long way in these difficult situations, so if riding my bike in the month of September will help raise awareness and some money for these little fighters then that's fantastic," she said.

"These children deserve something to look forward to they deserve to smile and that's exactly what the Starlight Foundation does for them.

"I was absolutely inundated with support when I was facing my own health battle and hard times. Being able to give back and hopefully inspire others along the way is a blessing for me."

Emily said she is "humbled" by the braveness of anyone going through serious illness, especially kids.

"Their bravery is out of this world," she said.

"The Starlight Foundation do some pretty amazing things, and provide such vital support to children and their families.

"I'm always out on one of my bikes, so to do it for a purpose to support such a great charity, it was a no-brainer.

"If riding 500kms in the month of September means just one little person gets to smile, then our jobs have been done."

The team is well on track to meet their kilometre targets, and has already smashed its fundraising goal, with more than $2500 raised.

Donations can be made online at tourdekids.org.au.

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