The Dolly’s Dream fundraising ride may have been pushed back five months due to COVID-19, but it didn’t stop Eden Valley’s Heidi Giersch and seven other women raising just over $18,000 for the charity.
Heidi and the rest of the crew, minus two from Victoria, have just returned from a 500 kilometre motorbike ride across the Simpson Desert.
Known as the ‘All Women Simpson Desert Crossing’, the group raised money for Dolly’s Dream, which was set up in honour of Dolly Everett who ended her life at just 14 years of age due to bullying.
On September 26 Heidi, the other women and the support crew took off on the four day, three night journey from Birdsville to Mt. Dare in the middle of Australia.
She explained that it was an adventure in itself getting up there, with the Birdsville Track only opening the morning she left the Barossa due to the wet weather.
But along the way, something really quite special happened.
“One of the ladies coming from Brisbane had to stop at a shop to buy a flag for their ute on the way, and the shop assistant asked about the desert ride. That person actually knew Dolly’s grandparents,” said Heidi.
“The lady and Dolly’s grandparents ended up getting in touch, and through that Dolly’s parents provided a special message for us.”
“It was just a special, personal touch.”
During the four days out on the bike, the women endured a range of weather conditions and terrains.
The weather was intense and 40 degrees on day three, and by day four it was humid after a storm, including hail and rain, rolled in.
They were riding on the blistering desert sand and terrain for kilometres, with several wet clay pans, extremely technical sections and some fast flowing sections.
How long they’d ride for depended on the terrain, heat and how the riders were feeling, but they managed to do 10 to 30 kilometres at a time during the hours of 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
“When we all got to Mt. Dare the only thing to do was crack open a beer,” laughed Heidi.
“Not being able to make it across one of the world’s largest sand dune deserts wasn’t an option for me.
“It took a lot of determination and focus, but we had such a great group of people. It was the most fun you could have on two wheels.”
This was Heidi’s first year doing the ride, with last year’s inaugural members raising $26,000 for Dolly’s Dream.
Raising over $40,000 for the charity, they are now one of their biggest fundraisers.
The group were originally meant to tackle this treck late May, but COVID-19 stopped them in their tracks.
“Three weeks out from the original date it was cancelled. While we were sad and upset, knowing we had a few extra months to train helped,” said Heidi.
“And up until a week out from the event in September we were still umming and ahhing if it would happen.
“But we did it! And now I can’t wait to go back next year. We all have a shared passion for Dolly’s Dream. It really was magic!”