Sian Gooden

Back in 2010, I was lucky enough to hear Hands Across the Water's Founder, Pete Baines speak at a conference. His story resonated so much that the following day I signed up to raise $10,000 for Hands and ride 800km through Thailand in eight days. I hadn't ridden a bike in a good 15 years and had no clue how I'd raise the money, but these obstacles seemed minor when compared to the challenges faced by the kids I'd be raising money to support.

After a string of fundraising events and countless boxes of Cadbury fundraising chocolates, it was time to board a plane to Bangkok. Maybe it was the endorphins, maybe it was the incredible Thai scenery (think tiny villages, dense rubber plantations and dramatic cliffs) or maybe it was the bonds formed with strangers due to a common purpose – after that first ride, I was hooked! I did another two rides for Hands and met some incredible people along the way. Everyone had a different story that brought them on the ride and a different level of engagement with Hands, but everyone stepped out of their microcosm to be part of something bigger than themselves.

It is these meaningful shared experiences that make Hands Across the Water so special and so close to my heart. Not only does the organisation have a tangible impact on the lives of hundreds of at risk kids across Thailand but also on the lives of everyone that gets involved.

This year, over 70% of Hands' planned fundraising has been wiped out due to Covid-19. The world is on hold. Fundraising is on hold. But the lives of the kids that Hands supports can't be put on hold.

It's been a few years since my last ride, but this June I'll be dusting off the cobwebs and jumping back on my bike to participate in a virtual experience. I've committed to cycling 800km in June... and I'm going to do it all on the ten year old single speed bike I bought after signing up for my first Hands ride back in 2010.

Every dollar donated will go towards the 350+ kids Hands supports across Thailand, helping to provide them with a high standard of care, a chance at a better education and a future that they never envisioned. More importantly, your donation will help keep the charity and the dreams of the kids alive.

Donations above $2 are tax deductible.

Sian Gooden