The public has opened their hearts - and their wallets - to the cause of cyclist Marc Simone, who was training for a charity bike ride when he was killed in a crash with a car in Sydney.
Early last week, donors had pledged a total of $2000 on the 44-year-old's fundraising page, where Mr Simone wrote of his aim to raise money to fight youth homelessness by cycling from the Blue Mountains to Darwin.
But following his death during a training ride in Emu Plains on Saturday, that figure now has rocketed to more than $40,000 in an outpouring that his close friend Keith Roberts described as "phenomenal".
Donations have poured in from across Australia and as far afield as the US and Hong Kong.
"I have had a look at the messages [posted on Mr Simone's Everyday Hero fundraising page] and I'm printing them out so his family knows what people are saying. It has certainly touched a lot of people," an emotional Mr Roberts said. "It's a phenomenal thing.
Mr Simone, a father of two, had set off from his home in Winmalee in the Blue Mountains early on Saturday morning.
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 Jeep Cherokee and flung from his bike.
Police said the 23-year-old male driver of the Jeep stopped at the crash scene and called emergency services. However, Mr Simone was unable to be saved. Police are investigating the cause of the crash.
Mr Simone, a former pre-school teacher turned IT professional, had set himself a target of raising $100,000 for Mission Australia during the four-week ride, which he was due to start in April.
His friends have now vowed to complete the ride in their mate's honour.
Mr Roberts said more money needed to be spent on cycling lanes across Sydney to make it safer for the thousands of cyclists who hit the road each day.
He said the M7 was the only motorway in Sydney that had a purpose-built cycleway.
"It's unfortunate that it has taken a tragedy to get this out there, it really is," he said.
"It's about time governments of all persuasions across both states and territories take notice. It's not just motor vehicles using the roads, there are pedestrians and cyclists by their thousands throughout the country. They deserve respect on the road as well.
"I think this is going beyond raising money for the homeless. We have to push this further for the safety of all cyclists on the roads."
A funeral for Mr Simone will be held on Friday.
Police have appealed for anyone who saw the crash on Saturday to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.