Bruno Cordier knows exactly where the money he is about to fundraise is going.
The 33-year-old Perth based Frenchman is about to embark on a 3934 km cycle from Sydney to Perth to raise money for obstetric fistula, a terrible condition which causes birthing injuries for women, especially in developing countries.
Mr Cordier was inspired by a recent visit to one of Dr Catherine Hamlin’s six hospitals in Ethiopia. Dr Hamlin is an Australian obstetrician whose efforts have been recognised by the United Nations; she runs six hospitals in Ethiopia where women have suffered birthing injuries. Mr Cordier is hoping to raise $20,000 to fund ongoing surgery and rehabilitation.
Mr Cordier begins his journey in the New Year. He will fly to Sydney from Perth and start his ride on January 11. He aims to be back in Fremantle on February 13 in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day with his girlfriend Gracie Vivian. “This is a team event,” Mr Cordier told The Record. “Without Gracie it would not be possible.”
Even though Ms Vivian is providing great support to her boyfriend and the cause, Mr Cordier will cycle alone, trusting in grace to accomplish his mission.
“Facing the unknown is unsettling,” he said. “But my faith is a central part of me and it is a fantastic cause.”
Mr Cordier and his girlfriend are close friends of Father John Daly, parish priest of St Anthony’s Wanneroo, whom they met in Calcutta while working with the Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.
“Faith is our driving factor,” Mr Cordier said. “You need strong spiritual practise to go through with this adventure.”
Mr Cordier’s route features Sydney to Mildura, Port Augusta and Ceduna in South Australia, before hitting the Nullarbor Plain which will be the most trying part of the journey. “I want to cover 150km a day,” he said. “But the Nullarbor Plain will be a challenge.”
The Nullarbor is an 1100km stretch of flat, arid country where Mr Cordier will face extreme heat and distances of up to 200km with no facilities in sight. After that, Mr Cordier will enter Western Australia. He will travel through Norseman to the Great Eastern Highway across into Perth.