Cycling for a good cause

Sea Point resident Sara Wineberg and three learners from Torah High School took on the gruelling Cape Town Cycle Tour last week to raise funds for a young boy’s medical expenses.

The learners, Yehuda Hecht (16), Nissim Brett (15) and Joseph Meltzer (15) and five other cyclists joined Wineberg and thousands of cyclists on Sunday 8 March to cycle the distance of 109km for charity.

Their R120 000 fundraising target for the Riding for Aaron campaign now stands at R128 555.35.

Aaron Lipschitz (5) from Sea Point is the first child in South Africa to be diagnosed with the Interleukin-12 Receptor Defect, a rare genetic condition that affects the immune system.

There are only a few known cases worldwide. But Lipschitz’s challenge doesn’t end there.

He is the only child (with this condition) who is unable to tolerate any food without becoming very ill. The only nutrition he has been able to cope with is a hypo-allergenic formula called Similac Alimentum

In August 2018 Lipschitz, who was 3 years then, had a bone marrow transplant.

With the support of The South African Bone Marrow Registry, a 100% bone marrow match was found overseas. There is currently no cure for his condition and having a transplant was the only way to help him overcome infections and survive.

Aaron’s mom, Taryn says: “Aaron is a fighter. During his bone marrow transplant he became critically ill and landed up in the Red Cross Children’s Hospital ICU for a month. His doctors were trying to prepare us for the worst and I told them to wait and see. Aaron survived against all odds.”

Taryn says Aaron’s medical expenses have been enormous.

To help cover the cost of finding an international bone marrow donor, as well as assist with his ongoing medical expenses, “a campaign was created on crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy,” she explains.

Lipschitz says over a period of two years, the campaign raised more than R1.6 million with contributions from over 978 donors locally and abroad.

Aaron has big plans for the future and wants to be a veterinarian and a professional soccer player.

Lipschitz says: “I would like to encourage all South Africans, to register as bone marrow donor to give children like Aaron a second chance at life.”

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