2017 has been another year full of blessings, hope and love.
Treatment wise, we’re still persevering and doing everything we can to fight this disease and we remain positive and hopeful.
We’re eternally grateful for the generosity shown towards our attempts to raise awareness, research and ultimately find a cure for MND and, as a family, we are incredibly grateful to everyone for stretching their hearts to support our struggle.
We wish you a very happy festive season and New Year.
Here’s a round-up of some of 2017’s highlights.
Inspiring new support
Southern Lodestar Foundation has recently come on board as one of our key supporters. What they have done since the start of their sponsorship for the Foundation has been nothing short of amazing. Andre, Matt and Rob, are three of the most inspiring people, and they’re doing wonders to help us and our mission.
The three of them have recently completed the Marathon Des Sables in Peru. Coined the toughest footrace on Earth, the race is a staged event taking place over the course of six days, with the longest stage being 91km. It’s a total of 251km running on sand, through the Ica desert in the blistering sun with freezing cold nights, carrying all their own food and equipment. To me, the word ‘tough’ doesn’t even begin to describe it. The guys all did exceptionally well, with Matt crossing the finish line in 11th place overall, Rob in 55th spot and Andre in 94th, in a field of over 200 finishers.
What’s more, this is the second Marathon Des Sables that Matt and Andre have completed IN THE SAME YEAR! Call them crazy but the extreme grit and passion of these guys is truly incredible and they deserve every bit of respect.
Southern Lodestar Foundation is also focused on supporting education and nutrition projects throughout Africa. If you would like to read more on this incredible initiative, click here.
Farming & Drones
I’m very pleased to report that I am still able to carry out many of my farming responsibilities on a daily basis. Farming gives me a real sense of purpose, it’s my passion and I am grateful for every day I am able to be out and about. My drone has proven to be such a huge help on the farm, allowing me to get around a bunch of challenging obstacles on a daily basis.
Never without its challenges – like being short on rain, as has everyone, we have to roll with the punches and make contingency plans to deal with these curve balls Mother Nature likes to throw our way. We’re hoping for a promising start to 2018 as we head into the rainy season.
Wild Coast Walk4Walks – October
Another of my very good friends Matt ‘Boerie’ Botha owns Wild Child Africa – a walking safari tour through the Wild Coast of KZN. Matt, his partner Camilla and their baby girl Jamie, put together a four day walk for 24 people along this incredibly beautiful coastline of ours in support of RWF. The girls and I were lucky enough to catch a ride in a chopper so we could meet up with the group at the end of their four days. The huge smiles we were greeted with told me everything I needed to know about their experience, and I am truly humbled by the effort of all those who took part in the walk in support of the Foundation, and to Matt and Camilla for running an amazing and enjoyable 5 star operation!
Karkloof100 – September
Andre and Matt were up to their usual crazy extreme sports antics, but this time a little closer to home, in the Karkloof. The race being just over 160km (two comrades back-to-back) with temperatures dropping to below 0 making it dangerous as well as very tough, Matt came in 6th after being on his feet for around 18 hours. Andre ran through both Friday and Saturday night, finishing in the early hours of Sunday morning. A mention to Andrew Booth & KZN Trail Running who organised the event.
Next year’s event will take place from the 21-23 September 2018 – we hope many of you will be able to turn up in support or just to spectate what is an exhilarating event! Visit Karkloof100 for details.
Kokstad Golf Day – September
A huge thank you to Kevin and Emma Fyvie for putting this day together and for all those who participated in the event and travelled from far and wide to play. Golf days are always good fun and a real treat for me to attend, catch up with old friends and make new ones. And this one was no exception! We’re hoping to have a golf day on the calendar next year so if you missed this one, don’t worry.
Rugby 7s Festival Dinner – July
A glittering and star-studded affair, this fundraising dinner was attended by some icons in SA’s rugby world including current Sharks coach, Robert Du Preez and hosted by John Allen. After an auction, which saw collectables like a signed Sharks rugby jersey and Rugby World Cup photo collage donated by Gary Teichmann, we were entertained by local talent including No Fly Zone and Gangs of Ballet. What a jol!
Marathon Des Sables – Morocco – April
I am now the proud owner of a Marathon Des Sables medal thanks to Matt Dove from the Southern Lodestar Foundation who endured the challenging landscape and extreme conditions. This was the first of the Marathon Des Sables completed by Andre and Matt. Matt finished 25th overall, whilst Andre completed the race in the top 50% of finishers. A truly remarkable achievement!
Ballito Dophins v Rugby Legends, March
What an event this was! Held at Sugar Rush Park in Ballito, there was something for everyone with a kids’ coaching clinic, hosted by the esteemed Ian McIntosh to the grand finale match of Ballito Dolphins old boys v SA Rugby Legends. A closely contested and hugely physical battle of fatigued muscles and shortness of breath. It’s not the winning but the taking part that counts – well that’s what the losing side said at least!
Run4Ryan – February
A 5km and 10km fun trail run through Stainbank Nature Reserve in Durban. Organised by Roag, it was really so wonderful to see families enjoying an active morning out in support of the Foundation. Check out the photo gallery.