The oncology department at Groote Schuur Hospital in Observatory was the biggest beneficiary of the Wheel to Heal for Cancer campaign held in December where R1,7 million was raised.
Groote Schuur is one of three beneficiaries. The other two are the health sector non governmental organisation (NPO) PinkDrive and the Multiple Sclerosis Organisation.
Prof Jeannette Parkes of the oncology department at the hospital accepted the cheque for R1 million, while Noelene Kotschan, CEO and founder of PinkDrive, received R450 000 and Non-Helena Smit, a representative of Multiple Sclerosis, accepted the R250 000.
A total of 30 cyclists rode from Mossel Bay to Cape Town to raise the money. Along the way, they stopped at different towns to hand out food parcels and interact with the residents.
Dr Elias Parker, founder of the Wheel to Heal for Cancer, who handed over the cheques to the beneficiaries. With him is from left: Prof Jeannette Parkes from Groote Schuur Hospital, Imraan Choonara, CEO of Africa Muslims Agency and sponsor of the event, Non-Helena Smit from the Multiple-sclerosis organisation, Anil Lalla, secretary of Wheel to Heal, and Noelene Kotschan, CEO of the NPO Pink Drive, with their cheques.PHOTO: Sharief jaffer
The campaign finished at the Islamia Academy in Lansdowne on Sunday 3 December.
Dr Elias Parker initiated the drive in honour of his late wife, Mariam, who died because of cancer.
At the handover ceremony on Tuesday 7 February, in the Ghousia Manzil Hall in Rylands Estate, Parker explained why he opted to honour his wife through the campaign.
“After my wife’s passing, I realised I am the person I am today because of her. I was depressed and although I was running and going to the gym to stay fit, it was not enough. Through the years, I was on the committee which hosted the annual Big Walk from Cape Town Stadium in Green Point along the Sea Point Promenade for more than ten years. Due to the covid pandemic in 2020, we had to cancel the Big Walk and after chatting to cyclists I decided to do the Wheel to Heal Campaign in honour of my wife.
“I’ve never cycled before and bought many ‘plots’ on the roads while trying to cycle and/or stay on the bicycle. Needless to say, I eventually mastered the art to stay on the bicycle and clocked up a few kilometres and had enough courage to take on the eight-day route from Mossel Bay to Cape Town,” he says.
Dr Elias Parker, founder of the Wheel to Heal for Cancer and Noelene Kotschan, CEO & Founder of PinkDrive.
The target was to raise at least R1 million and he was pleasantly surprised when R1,7 million was raised.
Parkes was ecstatic about the money and explained how it would be used.
“The current chemotherapy room at the hospital is too small and thanks to the department of radiology who kindly donated one of their rooms we’ll furnish it to make it as comfortable as possible for more patients,” she says.
Kotschan says the money she received on behalf of PinkDrive would help many women and men in rural areas who don’t have access to clinics for pap smears, breast examinations and prostate screenings.
Smit was overwhelmed and thankful for her cheque to assist patients with multiple sclerosis.