Thursday, February 28, 2013


Seweweekspoort; from the left, Mari, Charlotte and Gary

 It is most apt that our first fundraising event is happening in March; MSA Month.  My dear friend and fellow patient, Magda Erlank's daughter, Amanda Erlank, has taken the initiative to organise a group of cyclist to dedicate their ride in the annual ARGUS CYCLE TOUR to MSA.  This 109 km tour is the largest timed event of its kind in the world, attracts more than 35 000 cyclist from around the globe, and winds its way around our beautiful Cape Peninsula.  It takes place on the 10th of March.

Training for a mega event like this requires the discipline to spend many arduous hours in all kinds of weather conditions on their iron horses.  They do this because they can, for us who no longer do it.

Magda, on the right on her recent visit to me, left, with Karin in the middle

Amanda writes that she started cycling 5 years ago for health reasons.  Training for the Argus has transformed her into a healthier and fitter person, physically as well as mentally, and helps her to unwind from daily stress.  Struggling through training is often unpleasant but has taught her much about herself and her inner strength. 

Amanda training on the Dirtopia blue route

When faced with what seem like impossible hills to conquer, thinking of her mother’s impossible journey with MSA gives her the strength to carry on.  When an isolated mountain bike trail takes her to beautiful vistas, she is reminded that her mom can no longer share this with her because of this terrible disease.  Every breathless and torturous step is for her mom, a dynamic woman whom she reckons would have easily beat her in this race ten years ago.

Adri van der Merwe is a contestant from Upington in the beautiful Northern Cape, where hills for training is scarce in the mostly flat landscape.  This seasoned athlete participated in the Ironman race in 2012, swam the Midmar Mile in February, and won a 78 km road race in her hometown last weekend.

Adri on a early morning training session

Adri knows Magda, prays for her daily, so when asked to participate in this race, agreed immediately.  When recently reminded of her pledge she started training more seriously and rises at 5 am to do so in the company of other cyclists from her town.  A lot of sweat and the occasional fall have gone into training for what she regards as a worth while cause.  With her first Argus little more than a week away she is excited and hopes that her training was enough to make it an easy ride.   She is thankful for the privilege of being able to cycle and prays her effort helps our cause.

My therapist, Audrey Mallett, who has done the race many times before, is part of this group as well.  When she popped in today she told me she hasn't had any time to train and intends to wing it on a prayer.  This petite lady is a whole lot tougher than she looks (I have often suffered under her supervision!) and I'm sure she’s quite capable of finishing the race.

Gary and Charlotte taking a break on a recent training session

Zarier Behardien

I hope to bring you more news on these brave cyclists soon:

Amanda Erlank, Abdul Atta, Adri vd Merwe, Anton Titus, Audrey Mallett, Charlotte Kriel, Gary Evans, Maahir Berhardien, Margaretha Steyn, Mari vd Merwe, Michelle van Rooyen, Zarier Behardien.

Thank you Amanda for all the hard work you put in to make this possible. The best of luck and perfect weather on race day to all of you!  Although I can’t be there, I’ll be glued to the TV to cheer for you.  Hopefully those orange shirts will be easy to spot.

Because no research is being done locally, the funds raised were donated to the MSA Trust in UK.


  1. Sonja, this is wonderful. 10 years ago hardly anyone had ever heard of MSA and here is a race dedicated to the cause. Just seeing the shirts is, to me, astounding. I'm so thrilled to learn about this.

  2. One step at a time, with the help of friends and family, we hope to make a difference :)


We love getting messages - drop us a line.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...