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Son cycles in his mum's memory

SAM Philp was 10 months of age when his mother, Paralympic gold medallist Donna Philp, died of a heart attack while playing wheelchair basketball.

Yesterday for the fourth time, Sam and his father Tom cycled off from Warwick as part of the Children's Cancer Institute Australia (CCIA) fund-raising ride.

They ride in tandem and in a group under the captaincy of Warwick granny Sue Ferguson who they reckon is pretty laid back in the role.

“I sometimes think of my Mum when I am riding,” Sam said.

Raising funds for the CCIA is dear to the heart of Tom and Sam.

“Donna had bone cancer at the age of 13 and was treated for 18 months and had one leg amputated above the knee,” Tom said.

But a disability did not stand in Donna's way and she won gold medals for Australia in shot put and javelin at Paralympic level.

She was in the same wheelchair basketball team as Swanfels athlete Alison Mosely which finished fourth at the Atlanta Paralympics in 1996.

Tom said Donna died suddenly of a heart attack while playing wheelchair basketball on May 22, 1999.

“I wonder if her heart attack was to do with all the treatment she had as a child,” Tom said.

Riding in tandem is fun for the father and son team from the Taigum suburb near Zillmere in Brisbane.

“We are normally at the back of our group going up the hills and then lead downhill,” Tom said.

They have kept up Donna's interest in fitness and sport by competing in the CCIA ride, Bicycle Queensland rides and some other charity rides.

At weekends, they ride in tandem but also on their own bikes.

“We love coming to Warwick for the start of the CCIA ride, I don't forget Girraween National Park near Stanthorpe as that is where I proposed to Donna,” Tom said.

Sam's school holiday is a 400km bike ride with his Dad.


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