People's Post

Cyclists to pedal from Mossel Bay to Cape Town against cancer

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Judge Siraj Desai, keynote speaker at the launch of Wheel to Heal in Lansdowne.
Judge Siraj Desai, keynote speaker at the launch of Wheel to Heal in Lansdowne.

More must be done by the government to ensure that the most vulnerable in our country have access to cancer treatment.

This is the plea of Judge Siraj Desai from Cape Town, a cancer survivor, at the launch of the Wheel to Heal campaign in Lansdowne, where he was the keynote speaker.

The launch was held in the Alhambra Restaurant at the Islamia Academy on Monday 26 September.

30 cyclists from Cape Town and surrounds will cycle to beat cancer in December from Mossel Bay to Cape Town and hope to raise R2 million for the beneficiaries Pink Drive and Multiple Sclerosis of South Africa.

“I recovered from cancer but my late wife was not so lucky and died within a year after she was diagnosed. When I was diagnosed I decided to stay optimistic and went through my daily routine as normal. Most of my friends and colleagues were in disbelief that I am a cancer patient because I was always smiling and never let on that I am actually sick. I fulfilled my duties as a judge and went for chemotherapy when I had an appointment, and stayed optimistic throughout,” Desai says.

Rafique Parker on his hand-cycle is one of 30 cyclists who will cycle the 560 km from Mossel Bay to Cape Town to raise R2 million for Pink Drive and Multiple Sclerosis South Africa. At the back is Dr Elias Parker, organiser of the Wheel to Heal campaign, and Imraan Choonara, CEO of the African Muslims Agency, the sponsor of the event. PHOTOS: Sharief Jaffer

His wife was complaining from unbearable pain and their general practitioner did not detect that she had cancer.

“Being in the public eye and knowing a lot of people I phoned Gatesville Medical Centre and asked for an appointment for my wife. At Gatesville she was diagnosed having an aggressive cancer and within a year she passed on.

“I must admit having a medical aid helps a lot as the treatment for cancer is R2 million or more. I am lucky to have medical aid and know people in all spheres of life whom I can phone and will assist immediately. The ordinary man on the street, or even the gogo (elderly woman) in a township or in rural areas don’t have that privilege. Most of the vulnerable people in our country don’t have medical aid or cannot afford to go to a doctor. When the vulnerable eventually visit the doctor it is in most cases too late to help, due to the cancer not being detected at an early stage,” Desai says.

He is appealing to the government to make sure that cancer treatment, starting from the detecting of cancer to the chemotherapy, is affordable to all, with or without medical aid.

“Dr Elias Parker, organiser of the campaign Cycling to beat Cancer, also lost his wife through cancer and in honouring his late wife Miriam, he is cycling with 29 other cyclists. I am not that brave but will sponsor a cyclist per kilometre to pledge my support for this venture. I hope more than R2 million will be raised to benefit Pink Drive and Multiple Sclerosis SA. We all know of a family member, friend or someone in our community who lost someone through cancer and by pledging to sponsor a cyclist, we can all contribute in our own small way to reach the target.

“I am in awe of Rafique Parker, who despite his disability, will hand-cycle the 560 km. I wish all the cyclists well and hope we raise more money than the target,” Desai says.

  • For more information contact Parker on 082 493 9331.

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