Cyclist Michael Thompson (MBA, 1988) on raising funds for Turkey and Syria

Michael and his bikeFollowing the ongoing devastation caused by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria earlier this year, many have shared their support and taken on new challenges to raise funds for the communities affected.

We spoke to Michael Thompson (MBA, 1988) who has just completed a significant challenge in Australia to support those impacted by the disaster. He cycled a route the length of the Tour de France, with a climb of approximately three times the height of Mt. Everest, and has raised £8,000 and counting.

“When the earthquakes happened on 6 February, I was in Australia and felt the same horror and sadness as I suspect a lot of folks felt. However, I did not feel helpless.”

As a Trustee of a UK-based refugee charity, Refugee Support, Michael knew the organisation would want to support relief efforts. However, the big question was how the required funds would be raised.

“I felt compelled to act, so came up with the idea of the cycle ride from Adelaide to Brisbane. After attending a primary school reunion a few days after the earthquakes first hit, I was reminded of our school motto: Carpe Diem.

“One of my friends couldn’t attend the reunion, he had a terminal illness and was admitted to hospital earlier that day. I didn’t see Wayne again. That was it. ‘Carpe diem Michael, ride the bike’.”

A tired MichaelThrough its coordinators and volunteers, Refugee Support has supported over 10,300 refugees in Turkey alone with hygiene products and food, and now plans to get official registration in Turkey to continue raising the necessary funds for those in need, helping them to find sanctuary and feel safe. This work and the cycle, were highlighted on Sky News Australia.

Michael and his team have just finished the challenge at his primary school in Bald Hills, North Brisbane. 650 children and staff came out to give him a well-earned hero’s welcome, which you can view in this article.

Despite the testing nature of his efforts, Michael remained positive and motivated for the task ahead.

“It was relatively easy to stay focused. The cause demanded we continue. Yes it was a challenge to continue day-after-day and some days were undeniably tough. However, on no occasion did we have to endure the hardship suffered by refugees.

Michael and his wife“The ‘we’ is important. My wife supported our adventure throughout – in our support van.”

Marking the upcoming Ashes, a Test cricket series played between England and Australia, Michael, Managing Director of specialist supply chain and route to market consultancy firm Enchange, chose to start and finish each leg of the ride at state cricket grounds.

Congratulations to Michael on taking on this inspirational challenge!

Find out how you can show your support Michael