Four mountain bike enthusiasts will be riding from Pretoria to Pinetown in six days to raise awareness and funds for a non-profit organisation that supports children diagnosed with cancer or life-threatening illnesses called Rainbows and Smiles.
Philip Riggien, Shaun Knowles, Bruce Knowles and Luke Dinkel have challenged themselves to raise R50 000 for this charity.Riggien said the cause was close to home for them because their younger daughter was diagnosed with a rare cancer in 2009.Emma- Liegh was 15 at the time and the diagnosis was a huge shock to the family who, were not aware of the warning signs for childhood cancer. She was declared cancer-free one year after diagnosis and was now almost 10 years cancer-free.
“The ride will begin on October 24 from Wapadrand and we are looking to arrive in Pinetown around the 29th or 30th. Riding is my passion and childhood cancer awareness is my family’s passion, combining the two, to raise funds, just seemed like the right thing to do,” said Riggien. He noted that they had already raised R20 000 and we’re moving closer to reaching their target.
Riggien’s wife, Debbie Riggien is the KwaZulu-Natal child support manager for Rainbows and Smiles.She explained that Rainbows and Smiles provided support to hundreds of children in Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Johannesburg and Pretoria.“Visiting the hospitals and seeing the children is so rewarding. I get to spoil these children with gifts and snacks and for a brief moment in time they are able to forget about their illness,” she added.
One of the other riders, Shaun Knowles said they all loved the challenge of long-distance cycling and have been raising funds for charities, through cycling events for a couple of years now.“Covid-19 saw a lot of cycling events postponed or cancelled and we really wanted to do an ultra long-distance event together. Supporting a charity is an added bonus and we have seen first-hand how hard this little charity works to provide love, support and care for little children fighting a horrible disease,” said Knowles.
The group have been friends since their school days and doing this fundraiser together just fell into place. They opened a fundraising account which has been set up through Back-A-Buddy for donations and all funds raised will go to Rainbows and Smiles to help them continue with their work.