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Josie’s Pushing On To Brisbane

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Josie Potter ... back in training to tackle the Brisbane hills

February 21, 2013

Kingaroy cyclist Josie Potter is getting ready to tackle a 50km course in this year’s Brissie to the Bay charity ride … not a bad effort for a woman who couldn’t walk just 13 years ago!

Back in 2000, Josie suddenly lost the use of her legs and her left arm. She couldn’t swallow and she lost her eyesight.

At first, she was told her she had suffered a stroke but then tests revealed she had multiple sclerosis (MS).

Josie is now in the “relapsing remitting” stage of the illness which means that sometimes she has good days, some days not so good.

As part of her rehabilitation, Josie took up cycling in 2009 and a local cycling  group “adopted her”.

Riders from this group, plus some of Josie’s friends and relatives, formed the “Kingaroy Cruisers” team a few years back to take part in the annual Brissie to the Bay ride, a fundraiser for MS Australia.

Brissie to the Bay, which will be held on June 23, consists of four different courses: 10km, 25km, 50km and 100km rides, all starting and finishing at Musgrave Park in South Brisbane.

This is the the third year that Josie has taken part.

In 2011 she rode 10km; then last year she completed the 25km ride, but admits it was hard, particularly the hills.

“I did complete it and I was very proud of myself,” she said. “Except for the two times I fell off …”

This year she has nominated for the 50km ride, although the farthest she has ever managed in training is 35km “on a really good day”.

“I like to think that sheer stubbornness will get me through on the day,” she said.

Josie had a fairly big operation last August – connected with her MS – which interrupted her training but she got back into the saddle seriously in November.

Last year the Kingaroy Cruisers team consisted of 15 riders but Josie’s hoping for an even bigger roll-up this year – at least 25.

And she’d like to raise more money, too … this year, she’s set the target at $5000.

“We’d like to raise more but with the flood events recently, we’ve got to be realistic,” she said.

Josie said she had received a tremendous response from local businesses, donating items which will be raffled by the local MS support group.

She would also particularly like to thank Beauty Finesse, Bill Hull Car Centre, Cross’s Livestock Transport, Flemings Garage, Hydraulink, Markwell Medical, Struddys Sports, NAB Agribusiness, Roo’s Rods and Reels, South Burnett Beverages and X Ray Kingaroy for sponsoring the new team jerseys.

Supporters can also buy team jerseys from Struddy’s Sports for about $90 which will also put money into the Kingaroy Cruisers’ fundraising coffers.

“We’re hoping that a few more businesses will be able to come on board, too,” Josie said.

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Some of the 2012 Kingaroy Cruisers, from left, Courtney Jones, Barry Dempsey (coach), Josie Potter, Keith Parker (coach), Josie's brother Gerard Langan and nephew Connor Langan (nephew); Courtney's mother Laurell, who lives at Wooroolin, has MS; this year Courtney will be entering the 100km ride

The start of the 2012 Brissie to the Bay 100km ride ... there were about 2500 riders in the 100km event

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