Gruelling fundraiser inspired by friends’ struggle with disease.

Inspired by two friends' battles with cancer, an Auckland woman has decided to conquer the country - by bike.

Robyn Marchant embarked on a 3000km cycle from Cape Reinga to Bluff on November 8, which she plans to complete by December 18 - in time to get home for Christmas.

She aims to raise $6000 for cancer research through the Cancer Society - a goal she's almost reached only nine days into the ride.

Speaking from Maungatautari in the Waikato this week, Ms Marchant said she'd already increased the fundraising goal from $2000 and was now considering upping it to $10,000. She said the society would match every dollar raised with $4 from grants.


Ms Marchant says the cycling is gruelling - she ends up tired and almost delirious from riding between five and seven hours a day.

"I keep forgetting people's names, and my backside is pretty sore too."

Along the way she's had plenty of help from friends, friends of friends and complete strangers - some have cycled alongside her, while others have fed and housed her.

The mammoth effort was inspired by two friends who have faced cancer.

The first, Hayley Mason, 10, was diagnosed in 2012, aged 7.

Robyn Marchant has passed through Paeroa and is now almost at Taupo.
Robyn Marchant has passed through Paeroa and is now almost at Taupo.

Ms Marchant said that about a year into Hayley's treatment, on a visit to Starship children's hospital, they discussed a mother who had run the same number of kilometres she had travelled to hospital during her son's cancer treatment.

"I suggested to Hayley that when she was through her treatment, perhaps I could ride the number of kilometres her parents had covered taking her into Starship."

Within a day, Hayley had figured out that by the end of her 2 years of treatment, her family would have travelled from their Glendowie home to hospital the equivalent of the length of the North and South Islands.


"So the seed was sown and the first of my two promises was made.

"There was no turning back, especially when her mother told me some time later she had told her class at school all about [me] cycling the length of New Zealand for her."

Her second promise was to friend Moka Stone, who died of cancer in June - just before his 57th birthday.

After he was diagnosed last year, Ms Marchant was inspired to take six months off work to spend more time with her friends and family, and to achieve her cycling goal.

"I spent a lot of time with him and his partner Karen - Moka was a really special guy. He made me realise life was a bit short - he enjoyed life, he really lived.

"I promised Moka I would do the ride from Cape Reinga to Bluff, hoping of course he was going to be around to follow my journey, a wish which wasn't to be."

But she said she had so many other followers and supporters now, there was no way she couldn't finish her journey.