VICTORIA Taylor cycled into Whakatane on Monday from Tauranga. The 23-year-old is four months into her 6000-kilometre cycle around the country to raise funds for five charities, including the Dream Chaser Foundation.
The foundation was set up in memory of three-year-old Whakatane boy Chace Topperwien, who passed away from acute myloid leukaemia in June 2012.
Ms Taylor, who lives in Taupo now, but is from Wellington, began her journey on January 13 in Picton and plans to finish on June 1 in Wellington.
She explains that this is not the first epic journey she has embarked on in honour of Chace.
“I have been aware of Chace and his journey for a while,” she says. “I was so inspired by this little boy … he was so happy and smiling even though he was going through so much.”
Ms Taylor never got to meet Chace. But in 2012 she ran the length of New Zealand – 2200km – and raised $17,500 for the Child Cancer Foundation.
This time, on her epic cycle trip, she is raising funds for the Dream Chaser Foundation and four other charities.
The 80-day trip follows New Zealand’s coastline and she thinks that this may be the first time anyone has attempted to cycle this route.
Ms Taylor, who has also competed in half iron man world championships, has already done the South Island, including Stewart Island, and is heading to Rotorua when she leaves Whakatane.
Chace’s grandfather Rod Topperwien said Ms Taylor was a young woman with incredible drive and determination. “She is carrying 50kg on her bike,” he said.
“We really appreciate the effort and help she is putting in to support the foundation.”
Ms Taylor visited Apanui School yesterday to chat to students about her journey.
To donate to Ms Taylor’s fundraiser see her Facebook page, Bike around New Zealand.