The Ray White Commercial CST sales and leasing agent was supposed to ride in the inaugural ride to provide, for Thai children’s charity Hands Across the Water, in 2019, but a sudden health issue prevented that.
“I had a grand mal seizure and I was diagnosed with epilepsy,” Mr Turner recalled.
“I think the bike ride was only about three months away at that stage.
“I had to pull out of the bike ride and I didn’t do the kilometres.”
Mr Turner said the following 18 months were “pretty intense” as he worked with doctors to find the right medication and get his epilepsy under control, but he had strong support from family, friends and ride organiser, Steve Carroll.
So when he sets out to ride 700km across Thailand on February 23, 2025, Mr Turner will be looking to complete his original goal.
“Ithink it’s been almost three years where I’ve had no issues with the epilepsy,” he said.
“So (my) confidence has all come back, which is an absolute blessing and I just need to get this job finished.”
The ride will be the sixth to raise money for Hands Across the Water, a charity dedicated to protecting and providing shelter and education for disadvantaged children in Thailand who may have lost their parents, are unable to be cared for by their family or who have HIV and need support to live with the virus.
What will make the 2025 ride extra special is it will include an optional, two-day, 200km ‘Celebration Ride’ to mark 20 years since the Boxing Day Tsunami – the event that saw HATW founder and former Australian forensic police officer Peter Baines sent to Thailand to work as part of the disaster victim identification team after the tragedy.
As a result of that work Peter, and his wife Claire, established HATW in 2005, opening the first home Baan Tharn Namchai.
Ride organiser Steve Carroll, who is also the The Agency general manager for Queensland, said the first ride for 2025 had now sold out, but for only the second time, an additional ride had been added to the schedule, kicking off on March 9, 2025.
That ride, the Coastal Ride, will be 500km.
Mr Carroll said while HATW was started to house homeless children after the tsunami, the need for the charity today was just as strong for other reasons.
“Kids are now homeless in Thailand because of domestic abuse, because of Covid, and there are no handouts in Thailand so parents just can’t afford to feed their children,” he said.
“So the need for the real estate industry to come together and continue to raise money to support the ongoing health, safety and education of the children is as great today as it has ever been.
So far, more than $1.2 million has been raised for the charity and after the two 2025 rides, Mr Carroll expects that to tick over $1.5 million and be well on the way to $2 million.
Another rider, Spark Property Managing Director Catie Horder, will join Mr Turner on the 700km Home Hug Ride.
She said she was inspired by past riders such as Hayley Mitchell and Laura Shooter to do the ride.
“I haven’t really ridden a bike much before so this is a whole new thing for me,” Ms Horder said.
“But I’m excited to challenge myself.
Ms Horder said as well as wanting to raise funds for the children, she was looking forward to building relationships with the other riders and also putting herself outside her comfort zone.
“The connection with the cause is a big thing for me, but another part of it will be the sense of achievement of actually completing the ride,” she noted.
“I went on a bit of a health journey a couple of years ago and I lost 62kg.
“If someone had asked me to do this a few years ago, I would have even been capable of getting on a bike.
“So I’m really looking forward to challenging myself to complete the kilometres.”
If you’d like to join the 500km Coastal Ride you can do so here.
Any questions, or for further information, you can also call Steve Carroll on 0457 763 820 or email firstname.lastname@example.org