At VOTogs, we are no strangers to tragedy. After all, we did meet as a result of failing, again, in a popular photography competition. But in all seriousness, we know both know all too well about the pain that life can hold.

The launch of VOTogs was beset by tragedy with Peter’s dad passing away after a long and heroic fight against cancer shortly after we recorded our first podcast. It is hats off to the SoT (“Son of Tank”) that we found our feet and got going when we have. [Note from Peter: It is also likely my fault that things are moving a tad slower than planned.] Speaking of that popular photography competition, a little known tidbit is that the person who introduced me to it died tragically in a motorbike accident on the side of a freeway a few years ago in the prime of his life, without any of his loved ones near him. Up until now, 2013 has been a year with much personal struggles for us.

So, yes, the founders of VOTogs are no strangers to what life can deal you. We all react differently to situations and how we deal with the tragedies in our lives is no different. Some people retreat from the world and some run through it screaming to the hills. Both the founders are involved in causes close to their hearts, Peter being the extrovert is part of Christmas on Acacia and becoming a public voice with work for the Cancer Council NSW, whereas I prefer to do my part away from the limelight.

Part of what Peter and I discussed was what we wanted to achieve with VOTogs. We wanted to do more than just post articles about the latest trends and cool projects or gear. We also wanted to use VOTogs to highlight the GOOD that photography can do, the causes that photographers support, and the awesomeness that we do as people.

 

(c) Adriana Glackin.A mutual friend of ours, Adriana Glackin, whom, again, we met years back as a result of said competition, is about to embark on the Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer.

Let me tell you a little about the lovely Adriana. Her vices include chocolate, Nutella, coffee, barbera wines, pastries and Lavazza martini just to name the ones I tease her about. I have only met her once in person in Melbourne back in late 2010 but it seems like we have been friends forever. A talented photographer, warm and friendly (and clucky) as Italians tend to be, feisty as Italians tend to be at times, and behind that bubbly personality beats a noble caring heart and a fierce determination.

We embarked on a project 365 together in 2010, somehow we both managed to hold each other accountable and got to the end successfully. She is by far more talented than I am as you can see on her Flickr stream. Over the years she has patiently answered many stupid Photoshop questions, been a person to bounce ideas off, provided invaluable feedback on my competition photos, pointed me to the best place for coffee and authentic Italian food in Parramatta amongst many other things. Last year when I was in Rome, I was desperate to buy some sort of sliced fruit tubs because my (then) 18 month old would not eat anything else except chocolate gelato. In sheer desperation I emailed Adriana and she very promptly sent me a screenshot of the words I need to show the locals to ask for what I needed. This is the kind of person Adriana is.

In honour of our friendship, in light of Peter’s loss, we at VOTogs just want to give a shout out to Adriana’s campaign to raise money to conquer cancer. This is her story behind why she is getting on her bike.

(c) Adriana Glackin.“It was a sheer moment of madness and lunacy that found me filling out the online form and hitting enter so that I could participate as a rider in the 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer. I mean, I haven’t ridden my bike in years and I’m certainly not fit, I would rather sit on the lounge eating Nutella sandwiches while watching some old B-grade B&W movie, yet the lure to join this challenge far outweighed any semblance of commonsense that told me that this may just be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done.

It is ridiculous, I must be mad or insane to even contemplate such a task. A 200km bike ride… raising all that money… the hours of training that will be involved… seriously, I think I need a Nutella sandwich and then a lie down just thinking about it all. And then I think of those who are no longer here because cancer took them away – my parents, a cousin and a friend, gone, because they didn’t survive cancer. And then there are the friends who were diagnosed with and have thankfully survived cancer. And then there are the friends who have lost their family members to cancer. And on and on it goes.

It would be ridiculous, insane even, to continue to sit back and do nothing about this disease that affects so many. And that’s why this Ride to Conquer Cancer is going to be such a wonderful, emotional, physical and life changing challenge.”

 

If you have a couple of dollars to spare, is this a worthy cause to consider. Whilst Adriana has met her personal fundraising goal, let’s see how far over her target we can push her. Every little bit counts! Think about all the sacrifices Adriana has made on everyone else’s behalf to be on that bike on 12-13 October 2013.

Word of her appearing in lycra remains a rumour.


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