Velokhaya cyclists join Cape Town cycle tour to raise awareness around blood cancer

30,000 cyclists will be spinning their wheels through the breathtaking Cape Peninsula. Picture: Pixabay/Unsplash

30,000 cyclists will be spinning their wheels through the breathtaking Cape Peninsula. Picture: Pixabay/Unsplash

Published Mar 9, 2024


Get ready to pedal with purpose! The 46th Cape Town Cycle Tour is gearing up to take over the streets on Sunday, March 10, and it's set to be more than just a scenic ride along the freeways.

This isn't your average Sunday cycle; it's the world's largest timed bike race, and it's got heart.

While about 30,000 cyclists will be spinning their wheels through the breathtaking Cape Peninsula and the bustling heart of Cape Town's central business district, there's a bigger picture beyond the sweat and gears.

The Pedal Power Association and the Rotary Club of Claremont, the driving forces behind this massive event, aren't just about organising a good ride.

They're putting those millions of rand raised right back into the communities along the 109km route, making a real difference long after the last bike has crossed the finish line.

And speaking of making a difference, this year's tour has a special team on the starting line.

Ten young cyclists from the Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy are not only chasing the clock but also racing for a cause that hits close to home – the fight against blood cancer.

In a powerful partnership with DKMS Africa, these riders from Khayelitsha are on a mission to pedal for awareness about blood cancer and related disorders.

They're not just riding for glory; they're riding for lives, supporting fundraising efforts for patients desperately in need of stem cell transplants.

Velokhaya cyclists. Picture: Supplied

Every 72 minutes, someone in South Africa is faced with the daunting diagnosis of blood cancer or a blood disorder. The road to recovery is tough, with treatments like chemotherapy or stem cell transplants often carrying a hefty price tag.

For many patients, the financial strain is overwhelming, and the odds of finding a matching donor are like finding a needle in a haystack – about 1 in 100,000.

In a country where the economy can be as challenging as the steepest climb on the Cycle Tour, these costs can mean the difference between life and death.

Access to specialised care and treatment can be a luxury that not all can afford, leading to lower survival rates for those who can't foot the bill.

Palesa Mokomele, Head of Community Engagement and Communications at DKMS Africa, explained: “The aim of this partnership is to increase public awareness about the effects of blood cancer and blood disorders while also encouraging the financial contributions needed towards alleviating the financial burden faced by some patients when it comes to covering the costs of the transplant process.

“As both organisations are in the non-profit space, we believe in working together to impact society in a positive way.”

Mokomele, speaking about the partnership between the two non-profits, explained: "We purposefully matched with an organisation from Khayelitsha to amplify the message of early cancer diagnosis across South Africa, especially in communities that have not been part of these conversations before."

Sipho Mona, the General Manager of Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy, shared the youths’ passion for giving back. "One of the ways they do this is by cycling to raise awareness and help others. This time, they decided to ride on behalf of blood cancer patients."

Inam Nkonki and Elihle Gqola, both 16 years old and from the KwaMfundo High School, explained their motivation for joining the race.

"We want our community to be aware of blood cancer by cycling to support the thousands of people affected by cancer. We also want to make a difference in their lives, which is why we are cycling on behalf of DKMS Africa."

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