High ride raises funds
AIRLIE Beach helicopter pilot Ash Hogan is set to conquer Everest on the back of his pushbike - comparatively speaking.
On Saturday, November 21, Mr Hogan will mountain bike up Mount Rooper 65 times, raising money for people in Papua New Guinea without proper medical care.
"I'm doing this to enable Samaritan Aviation and Living Child to deliver medical supplies to villages on the Sepik River, to evacuate the critically ill and to enable nurses to hold birthing classes in areas with no medical support," Mr Hogan said.
The local high flyer's journey to the top began with a tragedy.
"I was inspired to act after my friend, Steve Comb, tragically passed away in a helicopter accident earlier this year," Mr Hogan said.
"Steve fundraised for Living Child and Good Samaritan Aviation and I want to continue his legacy."
Mr Hogan, who works in PNG, has also witnessed first-hand just how tough things can get.
"I once had to drive a woman with a life threatening retained placenta after giving birth over a washed out bridge with only two rails remaining," he said.
"When we arrived at the hospital I was shocked at the state of the building.
"Women in Papua New Guinea are 36 times more likely to die during childbirth than Australian women." Given Australia's proximity to our northern neighbour, Mr Hogan said he felt he needed to act.
"It's closer to the top of Australia than Airlie Beach is to Mackay," he said.
"But it may as well be over the other side of the world because it's so different."
With the mammoth task closing in and only a 24 hour time limit, Mr Hogan said he hoped to finish with around 19 hours on the bike. "I'll be starting at night time," he said. "I'll have a break during the day when it's hot and start again in the afternoon."
To donate visit chuffed.org/project/ride-up-everest or search for Riding Everest for Papua New Guinea on Facebook.