Every rider has their own reasons. Sure we like to ride and work to accomplish something together. But it goes deeper than that. Much deeper. My reason is personal. I have 4 beautiful children – 2 boys and 2 girls. Each one a blessing. And anyone who has children and loves them more than life itself knows that heart wrenching feeling when you hear of tragedy striking another child and someone else’s family. We know because we project ourselves into that situation. We imagine that happening to our child. For my wife Mel and I it happened shortly after our second child, Ethan, was born. The joy of birth and welcoming a new creation into the world. Literally your own flesh and blood. That was our joy, but within days it all started to go very bad. Now many babies will get a touch of jaundice, yellowing of the skin, after they’re born as they adapt to their new environment. In most cases it disappears quickly. For Ethan it didn’t, and despite raising our concerns about the yellowing of Ethan’s skin the doctors sent us home telling us there was nothing to worry about. Only after our protestations did they arrange for blood tests prior to going home. That was in the morning on the day Ethan came home. Following the blood test we returned home with our little boy. Mel fed him and we we’re just settling him in for his first sleep in his cot at home when the phone rang. I answered. It was the doctor. “I need you to get back to the hospital quickly” he said. I replied “how quickly?”…..”like yesterday” was the response….I felt the breath leave my body and fear gripped me. In a matter of seconds we went from happy family to panic…sheer terror. When we got back to the hospital a team of specialist doctors and nurses were waiting for us at the entrance. Ethan was rushed up to the Paediatric Unit, stripped of all his clothing, placed in a humidifier with a full bank of ultra violet lights on his fragile little body. The lights working to get the toxins out of his body that we’re slowly killing him. His bilirubin count topped out at 481. Now I don’t remember all the numbers and the exact sequence of events, but I do remember the medivac helicopter being placed on stand-by to transfer him to Westmead hospital from Bathurst. I do remember them talking about blood transfusions, hearing loss and worse. I do remember watching the clock as we got closer to the next blood test to see if they had arrested the spike in his levels. I distinctly remember falling to my knees and asking God to save him. I remember the cautious optimism when that next level came down, but then it plateaued at the next reading before falling quickly from then. After that intensely horrendous 18 hour period where it could have gone either way I recall that realisation that we were through the worst of it. It was our worst nightmare come true. I still get emotional when I think about it. We were lucky. The pieces of equipment we needed to save Ethan’s life were available at our hospital when we needed it. That’s not always the case….and when seconds count children do die, and families are destroyed….and that’s why I ride.