IN MEMORY: Warren Nicholls has planned a bike ride to raise money to buy a VersaCare bed for Monto Hospital.
IN MEMORY: Warren Nicholls has planned a bike ride to raise money to buy a VersaCare bed for Monto Hospital. Contributed

Ride for Keith to help patients in local hospitals

KEITH Nicholls spent the last six years of his life travelling around Australia in his motorhome but it was the Monto district that captured his heart.

He fell in love with the picturesque Wuruma Dam and would travel regularly into Monto town for his shopping and a lunch.

In August he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lung cancer and, after getting treatment in Brisbane, he decided it was Monto where he wanted to spend his last moments.

Keith spent four weeks in the Monto Hospital palliative care unit before he died, aged 74.

But before he went, Keith's son Warren said Keith wanted to do something to show just how grateful he was for the level of treatment he received at the hospital.

"Truly incredible staff, beautiful grounds and awesome care," Warren said of the hospital.

"They looked after Dad like a king with dignity right to the end.

"It was Keith's goal to conduct some fundraising for the hospital auxiliary, allowing him to give something back to the community that helped him.

"Monto just really resonated with Dad, he just loved Monto and the whole district."

With Warren's background in cycling, a Ride for Keith was born which will involve cyclists riding from Brisbane to Monto during September.

The goal of the ride is to raise $20,000 to buy the first VersaCare bed for the hospital. This was decided 10 days before Keith passed away.

"The bed itself costs $14k, so the rest of the money will go towards Monto Hospital Auxiliary in general," Warren said.

"The hospital has a palliative care bed but not one of these - the VersaCare beds are really amazing."

Features of the bed increase the comfort of the patient, with the bed able to change directions at the press of a button.

The last leg of the ride, on October 2, from Mundubbera to Monto is scheduled to end at the hospital at noon.

"Anyone can join in and we would to get as many Monto residents involved in the final distance of from Mulgildie to Monto," Warren said.

"Bring out your bikes, and ride along."

Warren said the VersaCare bed would already be at the hospital when everyone arrived.

"There are 14 registered riders so far who will go the distance," Warren said.

"We're all raising the money separately but it will come together to reach the $20k."

To donate, head to Warren's Go Fund Me page at gofundme.com/2c9n398.

A presentation and a barbecue will follow for when everyone arrives at Monto Hospital.


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