The impending birth of a baby is usually an exciting time filled with joy and anticipation.
But for Richard and Tonia McDonald the nine months before their daughter Rebecca was born were filled with fear and uncertainty.
"My wife and I had difficulties conceiving and when she did fall pregnant doctors told us she probably wouldn't go to full term or, if she did, the baby may not survive," said Mr McDonald, who is a police prosecutor in Parramatta. "But as the weeks went on we heard a heartbeat and tests came back with good results that Rebecca was developing normally."
Rebecca, now a healthy 3, inspired her father to do the Fitz's Classic 165-kilometre charity bike ride in Canberra on October 27 for the Kids' Cancer Project, dedicated to finding cures for childhood cancer.
"Reflecting on the horrible experience we had made me think about all the other people out there who have experienced similar trauma, especially those parents who have children with cancer," he said. "I was already a keen bike rider and I thought this was a good marriage between the two where I could make a difference rather than simply ride for myself."
This will be the third time Mr McDonald will participate in the event and to date he has raised almost $11,000.
This year alone the father of two has clocked up more than 7000 kilometres on his bike but that won't make the ride any easier, especially with the expected head wind.
"No matter how much you train for an event like this, it's still tough and requires a lot of mental resilience," he said. "It makes it that much harder but more rewarding and satisfying in tough circumstances because it reminds me of the pain some children go through - although a ride could never compare."
■ Donations: fitzs2013.everydayhero.com /au/richy.
■ Details: fitzs.com.au or thekidscancer project.org.au.