Local men driving 20 000km cross country to raise funds for Cerebral Palsy.

Driving cross country for a cerebral palsy free tomorrow

With a journey spanning over 20 000 kilometers ahead of them, Andrew Stevens and Frank Neikes are determined to play a positive role in South Africa.

The two friends are travelling from Johannesburg to Zanzibar to raise funds for the Paige Project. This an organisation which works with children living with cerebral palsy. The foundation was created when a girl by the name of Paige Morgan Barson was born with cerebral palsy in 2006.

Her uncle, David Barson, arranged a fund-raising initiative to purchase an orthopaedic chair to assist Paige. Based on the success of the event, it was decided to create a permanent project for other children in similar positions.

“We have sponsors who are contributing to our cause, by donating funds for every kilometre we travel,” Andrew explained.

Andrew Stevens and Frank Neikes.

Because of this support, the men will travel to Dar in Zanzibar via nine other countries such as Mozambique, the Congo and Rwanda. The journey is to take over four weeks, with Andrew and Frank pushing themselves to the limit.

“We are doing the trip on two KTM 500 motorcycles,” Andrew added.

Frank claims they will travel approximately 500km a day. “One of the highlights we are looking forward to are the gorillas in Congo. Another is camping on an active volcano, where we will be able to see the larva at night.”

The duo is also looking forward to ride through the Serengeti and passing Kilimanjaro.

But with the open road ahead of them, the question is, why are they doing this journey?

According to Andrew, him and Frank were meant to travel across Africa together. But, when they heard about the Paige Project, they immediately decided to rather do the trip for a worthy cause.

“How many people really contribute to organisations like this? I have two children, but while they don’t have cerebral palsy, I would appreciate help if they did have it,” Andrew said.

Frank said he was all for the cause because it revolved around children in need.

“Children are the future and I will help wherever I can.”

The two men began their journey on Sunday, February 4, in Johannesburg. As Andrew was born and raised in Newcastle, the friends decided to spend the night in Andrew’s home town. From Newcastle they head to Khozi Bay and Mozambique.

But, while the two men are resolute in making a difference, they are worried about certain obstacles. These include the weather, possible issues at borders and diseases.

“We are concerned about typhoid, malaria and bilharzia,” Andrew claims, even though they have taken the necessary precautions from being infected.

Frank says they also need to be vigilant regarding birds on the road. “If you ride under 100km, birds can react and fly away before we get close to them. But if we go faster, they can’t react fast enough, and a bird can do a lot of damage if you hit them.”

However, they are optimistic that their trip will be successful. “We would like to thank our sponsors, Tracks for Africa, KTM South Africa, Loop South Africa, Mitas Tyres and Garmin South Africa who have helped us a lot.”

Whoever would like to contribute to the friends’ cause can contact David Barson on david@paigeproject@co.za. To see their progress, follow Andrew and Frank on their Facebook page: 2 Guys Paige 2 Dar.

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