Over 200 youngsters will benefit after a team of passionate and dedicated cyclists raised over R1-million for the Reach for a Dream Foundation, which helps youngsters with life-threatening ailments fulfil their life dreams.
A growing team
A team of 488 cyclists took part in the 2012 94.7 Cycle Challenge in Johannesburg and collectively raised R1 050-million (US$118 801) for various projects. Dream Riders began in 2007 when eight employees at Nedbank, one of South Africa’s big four banks, collected sponsorships from friends and family for every kilometre of the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge they completed.
By joining the team, each cyclist commits to raising at least R1 200 ($135) in sponsorships and donations, while riders can ride either the 40km, mountain bike or road race as a Dream Rider. The annual 94.7 Cycle Challenge is the world’s second-largest timed cycle race, after the Cape Argus Cycle Race, which takes place each year in Cape Town.
Between 20 000 and 30 000 riders complete the challenging 94.7km course every year. The event’s main sponsors are radio station 94.7 Highveld Stereo and Momentum, the life insurance company.
Volunteering to help
Kone Gugushe, the divisional executive of corporate social responsibility at Nedbank, explains: “We encourage our employees and clients to volunteer in support of our corporate service initiatives objectives to develop and grow volunteerism in the workplace as a logical extension of our vision-led, values-driven ethos, as well as our deep green aspiration of being highly involved in the community and environment.”
Nedbank’s staff members are encouraged to play their part in uplifting and empowering communities through volunteering for such initiatives. Some of those for which they volunteer are: the Local Hero Programme, which encourages and honours individuals who participate in volunteer work by supporting their projects financially; and the Team Challenge Programme, a 10-month staff volunteerism programme in which staff form teams that support various non-profit organisations.
Reaching for the dream
Gugushe said: “Reach for a Dream gives hope and fulfils dreams of over 200 children with life-threatening ailments in our society and we believe that this contribution will enable them to help more children … Additionally, through such initiatives, we are able to extend our reach and make a meaningful difference where we might not have been able to reach ourselves.”
Bronwyn Feldwick-Davis, Reach for a Dream’s projects and marketing manager, said it was a landmark year for the foundation as the number of riders doubled, and together they raised R1-million ($113 147).
“This makes the Dream Riders one of our biggest fundraising events of the year and enables us to distribute the funds to all of our seven branches. Nedbank once again sponsored all the costs for the team, for which we are so grateful,” she said. “This allows all the money raised by the cyclists to go directly to dreams and projects and not expenses.”
How the money helps
Reach for a Dream helps youngsters aged from three to 18. According to Dream Riders, to fulfil a dream for a child who has a life-threatening illness, on average costs R3 500. The diseases that the youngsters who benefit from this project have include cystic fibrosis, HIV/Aids, renal failure, type 1 diabetes, and leukaemia.
They have varying wishes, among them going scuba diving, going shopping, going to the airport, going on a steam train ride, meeting the president, and going on a submarine ride.
Reach for a Dream says that for children with life-threatening illnesses, the magic of childhood may be lost in the emotional, physical and financial strain of dealing with their disease. The foundation tries to alleviate some of this strain, which often affects the whole family, by creating a different environment for the child – one that is not focused on her or his illness.