Ari’s Cancer Foundation is sponsoring 23 riders from Groenvlei High School in Lansdowne to fly to the finish line in the 2019 Cape Town Cycle Tour.
The journey began more than a year ago when the pupils decided to take on the challenge of the 2018 cycle race in support of Ari’s Cancer Foundation (“Teenagers get a chance to compete in cycle race for cancer,” Bulletin February 22).
Founded in 2012, the non-profit organisation was inspired by Ariana (Ari) Jansen who, in 2008 at the age of 22, was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
It was not until 2011 when Ari lost her battle with cancer that her parents, Zelda and Alan Jansen, discovered a graphic design their daughter had created with the words “live, laugh, love” surrounded by stars and hearts.
Using this as its emblem, they started Ari’s Cancer Foundation.
The pupils established the Groenvlei Cycling Club (GVHS) in February last year.
The club has more than 25 members with many more wanting to join.
The cyclists have been training hard and are inspired by a mission to spread awareness of cancer among adolescents and young adults, to promote cycling and to promote peace in their communities.
Mr Jansen said the team had spent the first few months training on spinning bikes in the school gym before progressing to the road using 15 commuter bikes, donated by the Pedal Power Association.
Over the last eight weeks, they have spent weekends building up saddle hours by doing long rides around the peninsula.
For many of the riders, this is about more than improving their fitness, it is an opportunity to experience the beauty of the city, some parts of which they have not seen before.
Last week they joined a spinning class at a Constantia gym.
First-time cyclist Leila Hamze said she was excited and could not wait for race day.
“There are so many parallels between cycling and life. Cycling prepares you to overcome life’s challenges that come your way. It also teaches you not to give up and that with commitment and hard work anything is possible,” she said.
Delano Timm said he was proud to be leading a group of Ari’s Angels.
“We intend to make the foundation and our school proud by finishing the race as a team,” he said.
Groenvlei teacher Godfrey Hendrickse said he was proud of the pupils’ commitment and dedication.
“They’ve displayed a maturity beyond their years… cycling has helped many of them deal with their own challenges and become stronger individuals,” he said.
For more information, contact Zelda Jansen at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Groenvlei School at 021 703 2227.