Donations have poured in for Winmalee cyclist Marc Simone who was knocked off his bike and killed earlier this month while training for a charity ride for homeless youth.
As the Blue Mountains Gazette went to press, the public had opened their wallets to the tune of more $61,000 — rocketing from the $2000 that had been raised prior to his death.
Friends, cyclists, strangers and some witnesses to the accident left money and messages at www.everydayhero.com.au/marcsimone with one person adding alongside a donation: “We never met you but we wish we did”.
Close friend Keith Roberts described the response as “phenomenal”. Mr Roberts said he was printing out all the messages for the family but Mr Simone’s wife Terese was not yet ready to read them.
The father-of-two had set off from his home in Winmalee early on Saturday February 16. Just after 7.30am, he was riding east in the breakdown lane of the M4 at Emu Plains when he was in a collision with a P-plater in a Jeep Cherokee and was flung from his bike. He died by the road.
Mr Simone, 43, a former pre-school teacher turned IT professional, had set himself the target of raising $100,000 for Mission Australia during a four-week ride from Springwood to Darwin, which he was due to start in April. His friends have now vowed to complete the ride in their mate’s honour.
More than 350 people packed St Thomas Aquinas Church in Springwood last Friday to farewell their “everyday hero”. The congregation was handed envelopes to donate to Mission Australia.
Mr Roberts said attention had now turned to cyclist safety. Bike clubs were also keen to help the cause.
“A lot of cyclists from all over the place want to be involved.”
Cyclist Leonard Smith left a message on the everyday hero website saying “so very sad, it could have been any of us.” Another said “RIP Marc [Ride In Peace].” Another message said “My young boys and I witnessed your accident and I desperately wanted to help you on Saturday, this is my chance now. Prayers, love and thoughts are with you and your family, may you rest in peace.”
Mr Simone’s son and daughter were two of the first to make donations to their father’s cause with Marc Anthony posting “Good luck Dad. I know you will make it to Darwin” and daughter Julia adding “Good luck daddy. I’m happy that you decided to help the homeless children.”
Wife Terese, alongside the $150 donation to Mission Australia, had written: “What can I say, I knew he was mad the moment I met him. What a great cause. You go Marcoman!!!”.
Mr Roberts said the children were receiving plenty of support from school friends from St Columba’s who “have been over and are keeping them company”.
Mission Australia spokesman Paul Andrews said staff had been “knocked absolutely sideways” by the tragedy.
“His generous spirit, infectious enthusiasm, dedication and compassion will long be remembered.”