Wat a ride, brother

Jason and Jarrod Watling returned to Smithton on Friday night, taking some time out to relax at the ‘K’s 4 Cancer’ presentation dinner following their journey from Smithton to Hobart in support of Cancer Council Tasmania. Picture: Bodey Dittloff.

Charity. Smithton’s Jarrod Watling said almost tripling his ‘K’s 4 Cancer’ fundraising goal was “a massive surprise” as the progressive total was revealed on Friday night.

Jarrod and older brother Jason returned to a warm welcome at a presentation dinner, raising $26,600 for Cancer Council Tasmania following a week-long charity bike ride across Tasmania.

On Friday October 17, a Hobart-bound Jarrod cycled out of the Smithton Recreation Ground with Jason close behind in a marked van. Eight legs and more than 800 kilometres later, the pair returned to the town just after midday on Friday October 24.

“It dawned upon me a little bit what me and Jason had achieved,” Jarrod said of spotting Smithton in the distance. “You feel a massive sense of accomplishment as well. I didn’t expect [the amount donated].”

He added the total could still grow even further, with profits from silent auctions and donations continuing to come in.

For 36-year-old Jason, his 28-year-old brother’s previous charity efforts – including a solo walk in this year’s Relay for Life and a ride from Shepparton to Adelaide last year – was reason enough to join his recent ride.

“It didn’t take a lot of motivation,” Jason said of supporting his younger brother. “We were away when he did the walk, so we were a bit disappointed we missed out on that.”

As well as providing encouragement to keep Jarrod motivated on the road, Jason was also busy supporting a growing social media presence for ‘K’s 4 Cancer’, keeping friends and family updated regularly throughout the journey.

Jarrod was joined on his ride in the first leg by Smithton’s Clint Reid; the second by Saints teammate Tyrone Morrison; and the final two-day run home by former Saints senior coach Dale Osborne.

Jarrod described the solo ride as “a different sort of mental challenge” to previous fundraising events: “With the Relay for Life, it was just repetitive walking. With the bike, there was the wind factor, the hill factor . . .There were different challenges along the way. It was probably more physically demanding.”

The Watling family was touched by cancer four years ago, with Jarrod and Jason’s father Geoff diagnosed with cancer in the pipes to the bowel. Now on the mend, Jarrod said he witnessed the support Cancer Council Tasmania provides first-hand.

“There are a lot of people affected by cancer that are worse off than we were,” Jarrod said. “I’m just lucky enough that I was in the position to be able to do something like this.”


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