The Steven Walter Foundation’s purpose is to organise and run events to raise money for childhood cancer research and support of children with cancer.
Steve Walter lost an 8 year fight with cancer and requested that a charity motorcycle ride www.snowyride.org.au be organised to raise funds “so that one day no other kid will have to go through what I’ve been through”.
The “Steven Walter Foundation” was incorporated in March 2008 and the main purpose for incorporation is to be able to run the Snowy Ride in its own right. The Foundation is currently made up of five Directors who are responsible for overseeing the organisation of the Honda Snowy Ride and to ensure that we comply with all the necessary laws of the land plus everything else various Governments wish to impose on hard working dedicated people.
The current Directors of the Steven Walter Foundation are;
Joe Collins; Executive Director CCIA
Susan Walter; One of the founders of the Snowy Ride and its co-ordinator since the beginning
Ian Juster; Regional General Manager – Southern Region Hyundai Motor Company Australia
Ron Spackman; Partner Freehills Law Firm
Allan McGuirk; One of the founders of the Snowy Ride
The below is taken from the Snowy Ride website and is the late Steven Walter’s story.
STEVEN WALTER (21/05/81 to 26/07/00)
Steven Walter was only nineteen years of age when he died after a heroic eight-year fight against cancer. Steve’s whole life revolved around motorcycles, both racing and pleasure. He was a former NSW Junior Enduro Champion and an Australian Four Day Silver medallist.
He rode for the ADB Junior Enduro Team. His passion spread to the road where he rode a CBR 600. His last big ride was to tour Tasmania with a group of his friends and family. One of Steve’s final requests was that a motorcycle event be run to raise money for the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia (CCIA) and help find a cure for childhood cancer.
The following story may give you an insight into this most remarkable and inspirational person, and the reason for the Snowy Ride.
In January 1993, Steve was diagnosed with cancer in his right leg. He underwent 12 months of chemotherapy and had one of the bones from his knee to ankle removed. This meant that he had to wear a brace to support his ankle all the time, even when riding
During this treatment when Steve couldn’t ride, he would travel to Open and Club events just to watch and help out. It soon became a social event for Steve and his family. It was at one of these events at Bathurst while Steve was sitting in a chair in the freezing bloody mud of the Bathurst pit area that I asked him, “What would you really like to do when you beat this?” Steve’s answer straight back was, “I want to live till I’m 16 so that I can join Oyster Bay and ride an Enduro”.
Steve’s big aim was to ride an Australian Four-Day Enduro and the ’98 event at Oberon was the one. Steve was riding an Oyster Bay Club enduro about three weeks before it when he was having trouble breathing. He went back to the doctors and was told the cancer was back in his lung and that he would have to start another 12 months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment immediately. Steve wouldn’t have a bar of it and said he couldn’t start treatment until after the Four-Day.
He prepared himself and his bike as if there were nothing wrong, knowing full well what lay ahead after he finished the event. Steve didn’t want anyone to know his condition at the event. He wanted no special treatment or help, he just wanted to do it tough like every other rider. He just wanted to succeed on his own merit.
At the time of the 4-Day, Steve was only 16 years old and still riding on his “L” plates. After four days of riding Steve hadn’t lost any trail time. He finished the event with a silver medal, only just off gold. Steve did all his own work on his bike as enduro rules require, he got no help or favours from anyone. He could do an oil change, change both tyres, check and fix the rest of his bike in less than 15 mins. After the final motocross, Steve put his bike in the trailer, went home and washed it before going back to The Sydney Children’s Hospital to start treatment all over again. He asked for his A4DE medal and helmet to be on his coffin at his funeral service.
The International Six-Day Enduro came along in September 1998, and six Oyster Bay Club riders went down to Victoria for it. Steve was unable to ride so he went down as one of the team managers. While the riders were either whinging about the event or sleeping, Steve was up doing the control schedules for the next day. He could hardly keep awake to do it but he did because he had made the commitment and it was his job. That team was the top genuine Australian club team and finished 16th in the world.
In February 1999, Steve suffered a massive stroke and the brain surgeons said that if he regained consciousness, he probably wouldn’t be able to talk properly, ride a bike or drive a car again (I must have a long talk with that brain surgeon). Later on in the year, the cancer came back in his hip and his spine. He had to have more radiotherapy treatment for both. The doctors said his bones would be brittle so not to ride any dirt bikes. Well, they didn’t say anything about road bikes! So Steve bought a CBR600 and rode it to Melbourne, put it on the ferry, rode around Tasmania for six days, and then rode it back to Sydney.
Steve was a guy that would never shirk his responsibilities, he would never just stand back and watch; he would have to get in and do it. He would never have contemplated getting to the end of his life and saying, “I should have done that, “I could have done that if only”. Life is way too short for that and none of us know just how short. Anytime you asked Steve how he was feeling he always answered “I’m okay”. He never complained about how he felt; nothing was ever too hard. All Steve ever wanted was to be normal and to live a normal life.
The Snowy Ride is not to honour Steven Walter, he didn’t want that. What he wanted was for his family and mates to raise money to find a cure for childhood cancer so that no other kid has to suffer like Steve did – that’s why there is a Snowy Ride.