Cycling for hospice

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‘My mom fought to survive the disease, so I’m doing this cycle challenge for her’

PEDAL POWER: Cyclists in the St Bernard’s Hospice Cycle Challenge started their 300km journey yesterday to raise funds for cancer sufferers and others with life-threatening diseases Picture: BRUCE VIAENE

OVER 20 cyclists took to the N2 in Port Elizabeth yesterday (Wednesday) cycling 300km over three consecutive days to raise funds for St Bernard’s Hospice.

Each year cyclists begin this challenge in Port Elizabeth at 5am packing the vehicles, enjoying an early breakfast at the Town Lodge, before departing at 6am escorted by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Traffic officials. And yesterday was no different.

The group of cyclists, support marshals, medics and traffic officials left Algoa Bay to complete their first 100km challenge earlier yesterday, and arrived at Nduna Lodge in Alexandria later yesterday afternoon.

“It’s my first cycle challenge and I’m loving it. Six years ago, my mom was diagnosed with cancer, and she fought it, conquering it and now she has been clean for four years.

“My kids have a grandmother now, all because my mom fought enough to survive the disease, so I’m doing this cycle challenge for her” said Queenstown cyclist Callie Fourie on day one.

Day two of the Cycle Challenge, commenced at 7am this morning and cyclists are expected to arrive at Mpekweni Beach Resort at 3pm today. “The camaraderie among the cyclists is incredibly unique,” St Bernard’s Hospice Cycle Challenge 2016 organiser Marchel Brown said.

“Each cyclist is here for a reason. Either they have lost someone to a fight against a life-threatening illness, or they are helping someone in their fight, or, even celebrating their triumph in winning their fight against a life- threatening illness. “Regardless, each person on their bicycle over the next 200km is here fighting for a cause, and they are united by it”, Brown said.

The East London based non-profit organisation provides palliative care to patients diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses; namely cancer, motor neuron disease, TB, HIV/Aids and other chronic illnesses.

Government funding is not provided to the organisation for cancer and motor neuron diseases, hence the need for St Bernard’s Hospice to host their own fundraising events for these specific patients in need. St Bernard’s Hospice requires R5-million per annum to run effectively and support their patients diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, as well as provide support to their families.

The St Bernard’s Hospice Cycle Challenge first took place in 2009 and has grown into a successful event to help raise funds for the organisation.

The group of 20 cyclists will continue their cycle tomorrow morning at 6am in pursuit of arriving in East London, at the Regent Premier Hotel by 3pm, the latest. Supporters and family members are encouraged to cheer on the group as they complete their final kilometres through traffic and dominate their “fight” upon their bicycle for this worthy cause.

“What an admirable journey undertook by our cyclists. I salute each and every cyclist and all the supporters behind them. The work done at St Bernard’s Hospice; the hidden lives affirmed of those who are on their most challenging and vulnerable journey; is made possible through the generous support of individuals, and all the companies who have further joined in various sponsorships.” appreciatively,” St Bernard’s Hospice CEO Melissa Knox said.

Knox extends her thanks to the East London, Queenstown, Johannesburg and even the French community, for not only encouraging them as an organisation to keep going, but most importantly, to thank them on behalf of the patients whose lives they can enlighten during their time of need.

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