• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

Grandads Army funds medical equipment for children

All at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital, Sr. Alexander (Acting area manager pediatrics), Sr. Hlati (Theatre Area Manager), Mr. Mfengu (Nursing Service Manager), Sr. Tyumzana (Deputy Operational Manager ward G7), and Dr. Mia Elsen (Paediatric Surgery).

Over six years ago, a small group of friends, Grandads Army, saddled up and cycled to Cape Town from East London to raise funds and awareness for the Eyabantwana Trust in what became known as the Grandads Army Memorial Ride. So far, they have raised R1.5 million for the independent non-profit Trust that supports the work of the Eastern Cape Paediatric Surgical Services based at the East London Hospitals.

On Wednesday, February 19, the Army handed over equipment to the value of R300 000 such as liproscophic equipment, a skin-graft mesher and an ultrasound probe for babies. Each year, over six years, the Army of over 35 cyclists and a 16-member backup crew will tackle the 1 160km route over five consecutive days to Cape Town. They hope to raise over R 450 000 for the Trust, of which R350 000 of their fundraising target will come from their flagship event.

This year, the cyclists will leave from March 1 and will cycle in three teams, featuring the Army, Navy and Air Force whom will collectively complete the 1 160km journey through to the Western Cape, via Cradock, Willowmore, Swellendam and finally, Gordans Bay.

The Grandads Army will then tackle a further 110km on Sunday, March 9, 2020 by taking on this year’s Cape Town Cycle Tour. To ensure all funds raised go towards the Eyabantwana Trust, cyclists and supporters cover their own costs leading up to and during the event.

The Eyabantwana Trust, founded in 1995, has become a beacon of hope when it comes to providing care and surgical services to new-borns and infants with complex congenital problems; children with cancer, burns or severe injuries, as well as providing care to older children with surgical conditions.

The Eastern Cape Paediatric Surgical Services based at the East London public hospitals, is the fourth largest children’s surgical centre in Southern Africa; providing surgical care to a population of about five million people of which children are being referred from virtually all regions of the Eastern Cape.

“We have a steep fundraising hill to climb, but we are confident that East Londoners and the many people along the way who were so supportive last year will again rally behind this great cause,” said Dr Colin Lazarus, Grandads Army cyclist and director of the Eyabantwana Trust.

This event is sponsored by Food Lovers Market, Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer, Coca Cola, Caltex Beacon Bay and Fresh Stop Beacon Bay.

Chief Executive Officer for Caltex, Pat Kelly said, “We must acknowledge and pay tribute to the Eyabantwana Trust for their dedication in raising awareness and funds to assist young children who are particularly vulnerable, with burn injuries claiming many a young life each year. They are the future leaders in our country and as business we should ensure that they are given the chance to make this happen. We take our responsibility to uplift the lives of our communities seriously – be it by supporting education, sport and healthy living and provide assistance in the form of fuel to worthy campaigns such as this. We wish you safe travels, warm hospitality, generous hearts and much success. Be assured that the Caltex team will be rooting for you all the way.”

Members of the public who wish to get involved with this phenomenal cause and help raise funds for the Paediatric Surgical Services based at the East London public hospitals are encouraged to contact Trystan Viaene - trystan@hypepr.co.za, visit www.eyabantwana.co.za for further information on the Eyabantwana Trust and follow the excitement of the Grandads Army Memorial Ride on Facebook.

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