Poppie van As (63), who has been invited as a special guest to a three-day long cycling event in Gaiole, Italy, still needs R30 000 to go on the trip of her lifetime.
Poppie from Laingsburg sells roosterkoek for a living.
International cyclist and resident from Woodstock, Stan Engelbrecht (43), is trying to raise the remaining funds for Poppie to attend L’Eroica, an annual non-competitive cycling race, starting on Sunday 6 October.
Stan met Poppie in 2013 when he was cycling along the N1 close to Laingsburg.
He says at the time, Poppie was just an ambitious vendor selling roosterkoek to motorists.
“After I bought a roosterbrood from her by chance, I asked her to make it at a bicycle race I organised in the Karoo about six years ago. Everyone loved her boundless energy and positivity so much that I invited her back every year. So, our friendship grew,” says Stan.
He says Poppie has become very close to the cycling family, and himself, and he wants to help her get a lifetime opportunity of not just boarding a flight or visiting a foreign country for the first time, but to document her story and make it an inspiration for others. Stan’s girlfriend, Donnet Dumas (32) will be filming the documentary throughout.
“Poppie has never left the Western Cape and this once-in-a-lifetime trip will change her life forever. It will alter her world-view. Perhaps this opportunity will inspire her peers and those around her small community to better their own lives too. It’s heart-breaking to travel through these Karoo towns and see people living with no hope, no prospects,” Stan says.
“Poppie’s life story is fascinating – filled with humour and often sadness. And with this opportunity to go to Italy it has become clear that her story is begging to be told.”
He says Poppie will receive half of all profits from the documentary and he will help her use the money wisely.
However, they need the public’s help to make this happen. Stan has so far raised nearly R70 000 through a BackaBuddy crowd-funding page.
He says half of the funds will be used to cover her visa application, travelling and getting her some basics for the trip.
The remainder of the money raised will go towards the documentary.
“Please be part of telling her beautiful story,” Stan appeals.
They are planning to leave on Wednesday 25 September.