Kiwi lads battle giardia and thousands of kilometres of road to raise money for cancer charity

From suffering the pains of having giardia for two weeks to experiencing the glory of the Himalaya Ranges in person, four Kiwi men have seen it all.

The group is travelling from Bali to London by bicycle, raising tens of thousands of dollars for the Leukaemia and Blood Cancer Foundation of New Zealand in the process.

The men, all in their 20s, have been cycling for more than a year, after setting off in Bali, Indonesia on April 1 last year, but their epic journey is no joke – already they have raised more than $15,000 and still have more than a month to go.

Brothers Freddie and Arthur Gillies and their friends Sean Wakely and Timmy Chen were aiming to raise $1 for every kilometre ridden.

In late March they hit their 15,000th kilometre and will push on until they reach London on July 28 when the trip will end.

By then they would have travelled 22,000km, passed through nearly 30 countries and hoped to raise $25,000, Chen said.

Challenges have included the cold and snow, sickness and busted bikes – and one stolen cycle.

A low point for the team was leaving the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi to head for Turkey.

“It was snowing, the boys were sick and they had giardia, Sean’s back was spasming from the riding and it was getting to freezing weather.

Timmy Chen, front, Arthur Gillies, Sean Wakely and Freddie Gillies are cycling the globe to raise money for a cancer charity. Photo / Sean Wakely
Timmy Chen, front, Arthur Gillies, Sean Wakely and Freddie Gillies are cycling the globe to raise money for a cancer charity. Photo / Sean Wakely

“They had been battling with it [giardia] on and off since they left India.”

The top highlights for the team were reaching the 15,000km mark and seeing famous landmarks in person.

“It was a big achievement and a great sense of accomplishment to see the Himalayas.

“Meeting people was great, we are being hosted by an Italian woman now and have seen the kindness of the locals everywhere,” Chen said.

They have been updating friends, family, and followers on Facebook and Instagram about the trials and tribulations of their trip.

Starting in Bali, the boys cycled east through southeast Asia and eastern Europe, arriving in Rome earlier this week after leaving Croatia.

On their website, the young men wrote they decided to chuck in their 9-5 jobs for an around-the-world adventure.

“It occurred to us, many years ago, enduring the monotony of another routine day, that we didn’t want to settle,” the website’s “about” section read.

“We also didn’t want to settle for the idea that those in need of help should so constantly go without or be left wanting.

“In September 2016 our Uncle John passed following a long battle with cancer. His final conversation with us was about his travels through Afghanistan and the Khyber Pass.

“He told us ‘in life you have your shit days and your good days. It’s the shit days that build resilience’.”

Chen said that after the trip was finished the men wanted to share their story and get the word out.


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