Cyclist had gift of extra nine years

2013-10-17 00:00

“IT was a gift to have him for another nine years.”

This is what Carola Manke said after her husband Georg (50) died on Sunday after suffering a heart attack during the Amashova Durban Classic.

Manke, a manager of the Tala Private Game Reserve, received a kidney transplant nine years ago. After coming close to losing him then, Carola is grateful for the extra time she got with her husband.

“He was the most amazing man. He was a fantastic husband and excellent friend. He loved nature and being with animals. He taught those he worked with so much. They were all so shocked when they heard the news,” Carola told The Witness.

Manke was inspired by his sons Felix (17) and Olaf (15) to do the Amashova.

“My boys did the Amashova last year and Georg said ‘next year I’ll ride with you’. He bought a bike and immediately fell in love with cycling. The boys really appreciated that he cycled with them.

“From the way he was acting for the past weeks, I think he knew it was going to happen. I believe he cycled to God that day.”

Georg had the heart attack near the half-way point. Crisis Medical, the medical provider for the race, resuscitated him and took him to Hillcrest hospital where he later died.

Annie Batcher, organiser of the Amashova, said, “This is very sad. We had such a fantastic ride this year and to have a tragedy like this, you just wish it never happened.

“The way the cyclists responded to Georg was amazing. They rallied around him and waited for the ambulance to come. I got messages from cyclists asking how he was. Their reaction really embodied the spirit of Amashova.”

Transport MEC Willies Mchunu said: “As government we are saddened and shocked by this tragedy in what was a successful sporting event. I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and the entire cycling industry.”

Because of his transplant, Manke wanted his body to be donated to save lives. Carola said: “He wanted them [doctors] to use everything they could to save many people. He was such a hard worker. Now he can finally rest.”

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