Six weeks in saddle to save lives

2015-10-07 06:00
Cyclist Rick Budai was welcomed by Autorama Motors owner Ismail Walters and the Caltex White Rabbit (Lucky Mugwati) when he made a pit-stop at the service station in Gelvandale, Port Elizabeth, on the halfway mark of his 3 500km cross-country ride to

Cyclist Rick Budai was welcomed by Autorama Motors owner Ismail Walters and the Caltex White Rabbit (Lucky Mugwati) when he made a pit-stop at the service station in Gelvandale, Port Elizabeth, on the halfway mark of his 3 500km cross-country ride to

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A WARM round of applause welcomed Rick Budai to the friendly city of Port Elizabeth last week Tuesday after completing more than half of his 3 500km cycle tour.

For businessman Budai, spending six weeks in the saddle covering 3 500km, is a small price to pay if it could save just one life through the early detection of breast cancer.

Budai’s wife Carolyn was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in September 2014.

“That was the turning point in both our lives,” Budai said. Even though the couple escaped the worst, Budai believes that had they found the cancer sooner, it would have made a difference. “If through this initiative I can get even one person to get tested, I would have served my purpose,” he said.

His wife has since had a single mastectomy, gone through chemotherapy and radiology, and today she is cancer-free.

Buday was in high spirits after completing leg 29 in almost perfect weather. “Port Elizabeth is known as the ‘windy city’ so based on the previous day’s experience I was quite literally shaking in my cleats when we departed from Addo this morning. It was a breeze in comparison to yesterday when I had to battle head-on winds that slowed me down to cycling at a speed of only 5km/h at times. This morning I made such good time that I even had a quick pit stop to photograph the flamingoes along the way,” he joked on arrival.

Budai’s first stop was at Autorama Motors, the Caltex Service Station in Gelvandale, where he was welcomed by owner Ismail Walters before he mingled with members of the community.

Young moms with little ones, local school kids, community workers and even an old man dressed in his finest, shared stories and collected pamphlets to share with friends, neighbours and colleagues that couldn’t make the visit.

The visit to Gelvandale was facilitated by Caltex Eastern Cape which came on board as the back-up vehicle’s fuel sponsor for the Eastern Cape leg. Clive Berlyn, Caltex Eastern Cape CEO, said that the company is proud to be associated with this worthwhile cause.

“It’s the little things we do that can make a huge difference in someone else’s life. For us it is more than just being a local fuel provider - it is also about supporting, uplifting and caring about the communities around us.”

Walters said that he hoped the event would be the start of a drive to generate greater support, involvement and awareness of breast cancer within the Gelvandale community, and has pledged his full support to making it happen.

Budai kicked off the “Panorama to Sea” ride from Nelspruit on September 1 and is due in Cape Town on October 14. He is accompanied by a back-up vehicle driven by his best friend, David Lasarow, who lost both his parents to cancer.

* Budai’s journey can be followed on his daily blog: pinkdrivestagecycletour.com

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