After Matt’s family cancer battle, he knew he had to ride the...

After Matt’s family cancer battle, he knew he had to ride the good ride

Matt, from Wellard, celebrated his 10th Life Cycle ride at the weekend.

When local man Matt Bonser was still a teenager, his dad was diagnosed with lymphoma and passed away the following year.

Six years later, his step-dad was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and died only a month later.

Then his mum was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2022, after a routine breast screen detected a lump too small to be felt by a self-examination.

She underwent immediate surgery to remove the breast cancer and has just recently completed five weeks of radiation.

On his birthday last year, they finally got some good news — Matt’s mum was declared cancer free.

Matt thanks his lucky stars that she underwent this testing – because the thought of losing another parent to cancer is unfathomable.

Whilst cancer has rocked his world over the past 12 years, the now 27-year-old has been supported through the efforts of Canteen.

Canteen is the only organisation in Australia dedicated to providing tailored support for young people aged 12-25 who are impacted by cancer. Through Canteen, they learn to explore and deal with their feelings about cancer, connect with other young people in the same boat and, if they’ve been diagnosed themselves, Canteen provides specialist, youth-specific treatment teams.

And Matt finds comfort in being able to have a space like Canteen, where people just ‘get it’ and gets a sense of satisfaction in being able to give back to Canteen and help others in similar situations.

Last weekend Matt celebrated his 10th year participating in Life Cycle WA – Canteen’s largest volunteer-led fundraising event which sees 150 riders travel from Bassendean to Busselton.

The route included Tonkin Highway and roads paralleling the Southwest Highway to Pinjarra on Day 1 and Brunswick on Day 2. On day 3, three groups rode through Donnybrook and Capel, while the other two groups passed through Dardanup and Capel and then through the Tuart Forest to Busselton.

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the event. Over the course of the weekend, Matt cycled over 409km as team captain, helping to raise $155,000 for Canteen Australia – who supported him through his parents’ cancer journeys.

“This year was my chance to give back to a fundraiser that has done so much for Canteen, but has also been a massive part of my 12-year journey with Canteen. It amazes me every year that something so big with so much traction already, can continue to get bigger and better,” Matt said.

“Mark my word, this will still be going in another 25 years’ time. And there will be more young people like myself, telling their own story of how Life cycle helped them.

“Life Cycle is an event like no other, where members get to ride alongside fundraisers and sponsors, and both parties get to share stories of what brings them to Life Cycle, it’s a big part of why I started doing the ride and will continue to do so.”

Anyone wishing to donate can do so through the Life Cycle WA page.