Pedalling towards a purposeful future

Anthony Chan enjoys fixing things. As a mechanic for his local bike store 99 Bikes in Blackburn, Victoria, he draws on his experience as a mechanical engineer to help people get back on their bikes as quickly as possible.

It’s rewarding work, made even more so thanks to the organisation’s Earn to Give program, which has recently seen staff make a generous donation of more than $22,000 to BCNA.

‘Not only does 99 Bikes support employees with personal development every year, but they offer us all the option of donating an extra 1 per cent of our salaries to a charity of our choice,’ says Anthony.

With a list of around 40 charities to choose from, staff can usually find a cause close to their heart.

‘I lost my wife Melissa to breast cancer in 2019. Naturally, I wanted to support BCNA, but it wasn’t on the list, so I nominated it to be added. Now we have around 50 staff across Australia who choose to donate to BCNA,’ Anthony says.

His connection to BCNA started when Melissa was diagnosed in 2006 at the age of 36. Their lives changed in an instant. Along with the support of her medical team, BCNA’s resources helped Melissa and her family understand what was happening.

While she worked and cared for her young family, Melissa underwent treatment and a mastectomy. For a while, things seemed to have settled down, but in 2008 she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. The cancer had spread to her bones. Anthony says BCNA’s Hope & Hurdles resource was particularly useful.

‘A secondary diagnosis changed the game significantly, not only with regards to her treatment options but also our outlook on life,’ says Anthony. ‘Her illness shone a light on priorities.’

One of the ways they reprioritised was deciding Anthony would leave his full-time job to stay home and look after his family so Melissa could continue in the career she loved as an engineer for Yarra Valley Water.

‘Melissa always wanted to do things, even during her illness – she never wanted to sit around passively,’ he says. ‘Her major priority was to make life as normal as possible for the kids. Her 13-year journey meant the kids really got to know her. She was always helping others and she really instilled that quality in our children.’

During Melissa’s illness, Anthony realised how unhappy he’d become in his own career. He decided to do what he enjoyed most – tinkering in a workshop, surrounded by tools. He quit his job as a mechanical engineer and started approaching bike stores. Eventually, 99 Bikes took him on.

‘I’m so much happier at work now,’ he says. ‘Plus, every day, I know I’m also helping BCNA to continue its important work supporting people diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s a good feeling.’

Workplace Giving is one of the easiest ways to support BCNA. By contributing a small amount of your pre-tax salary, you can make a big difference. You can give as much or as little as you like, and because your donations are pre-tax, you will receive the tax benefit immediately, rather than having to wait until the end of the financial year. Learn more about BCNA’s Workplace Giving Program.

Issue 90
Autumn 2022