Media personality Liezel van der Westhuizen is set to take on her greatest challenge yet as she and her partner Cindy Jacobsz, member of SA Tandem for the Blind, will tandem cycle over 500km through the mighty Himalayas.
The event is a remarkable one as it is an inclusive event which sees visually impaired athletes taking part. #M2K2018 – Inclusive Tandem Cycling Expedition With Adventures Beyond Barriers Foundation. Adventures Beyond Barriers Foundation (ABBF) is India’s leading adventure sports not-for-profit that caters to Persons with Disability as well as able-bodied adventurers.
At the age of 16 Jacobsz was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration, Stargard leading to eventual blindness, in spite of this she had gone on to achieve remarkable things.
“I was extremely honoured and excited to be asked by Cindy to partner with her. She is a remarkable athlete who despite the challenge presented by her blindness has gone on to earn national colours for cycling. I am going to have to be on top of my game to keep up,” laughs van der Westhuizen.
The event will take place in the Indian Himalayas from 18 – 30 August 2018 and will begin in Manali before the cyclist’s climb over 3 500 metres to finish in Khardung La. The event is a unique one in that not only does it have visually impaired cyclists taking part but will also see 5 amputee cyclists also braving the elements.
“This is an experience of a life time and I would love to arrange similar events for blind cyclists in South Africa to give other blind and visually impaired cyclist the opportunity to experience MTB cycling and the beauty of South Africa. I am raising awareness and encouraging athletes with visual disabilities to participate in sport and to reach their dreams and goals,” says Jacobsz.
Both Van der Westhuizen and Jacobsz are extremely passionate about philanthropy and have decided to use the event to raise funds for two medical charities namely Operation Smile South Africa and OneSight. Operation Smile is dedicated to providing free surgery to children and adults born with cleft lip and/or cleft palate, while OneSight provides refractive error services and prescription spectacle to those people without access to affordable vision care.
“This ride is about more than ourselves. We wanted to find a way to make a real difference with every pedal stroke and so it was a natural decision to support these two incredible charities who essentially give people their smiles and help others see them,” explains Van der Westhuizen.
To donate R30 towards Operation Smile & OneSight
SMS the word “Tandem” to 42030
Experience the #RolaLifestyle
Although a healthier lifestyle is the initial attraction to the sport of cycling, as passionate followers of the sport, we all soon discover all else it has to offer.
With the hashtag #RolaLifestyle, an aim to share and live out specific values were set. Marius Claassen, Chief Executive Officer of the Rola Motor Group, is an avid mountain biker, having finished the Absa Cape Epic in the past. He soon realised the positivity and values he learned in this sport, could be of benefit in the business world.
Rola Volkswagen lifestyle ambassador, Ariane Lüthi, a true professional in the discipline of mountain biking, and Rola Motor Group brand ambassador, Liezel van der Westhuizen promote a healthy lifestyle and community involvement. The affiliation between the Rola brand and its brand ambassadors thus came naturally.
The Rola Volkswagen Group wants to get involved with local communities in order to help improve lifestyle and education. What better way to do this than supporting the VWSA blue bike “bicycles change lives” campaign. Mobility is given to children in the form of bicycles in order to help them with their daily commute between home and school.
Rola Motor Group wishes Liezel van der Westhuizen and her team mate Cindy Jacobsz, all of the best when they take on the Himalayas on a tandem bicycle. We commend Liezel on her dedication and passion to give back to society, which ties in with the Rola family values.
“We also would like to wish Ariane Lüthi good luck with her future plans, we are looking forward to seeing her compete in the UCI XCM World Championships taking place on the 15th of September 2018.”
For more information visit www.rolacars.co.za