The Recovery Foundation NPO fights to break the stigma of chemical dependency, and help maladjusted people to reintegrate and reconnect with society. The NPO emphasises the importance of connection and purpose. The Foundation believes that through fostering an individual’s passion for sports, cultural activities and other healthy outlets, disconnected people with chemical dependency issues may overcome their circumstances and find a new way of living.
Cycling is one of the sports through which The Recovery Foundation encourages people to connect. Brendan James van Staaden, director at The Recovery Foundation, believes cycling is a metaphor for life. Cycling and life can be seen as parallels – no matter what comes your way, no matter how difficult things may get, you just have to keep peddling. In addition to upholding this attitude of perseverance and determination, cycling also encourages a feeling of comradery and team spirit. This spirit was put into action by The Recovery Foundation charity cycle team for the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge.
The Recovery Foundation charity cyclists are proof of the connection, strength and fellowship that can be found by cycling together for a cause. Each individual found their way to the team in a different way but were united by their passion for the cause of recovery from addiction.
“My late mother, late stepfather and various family and friends were drug addicts. Some managed to get clean, others weren’t so lucky… I knew that if I was going to enter the 947 cycle challenge, it had to be for a charity, and I also knew that the charity I wanted to choose would be of some relevance to my late mother and the struggles she had,” explains Jade.
“Years of drinking took me down a very dark road. A road of self-destruction that ruined my family life. I thought The Recovery Foundation was a good cause, as being able to help someone else to their road of recovery would mean a lot to me,” says Frank.
The Foundation believes that having a purpose in life gives us all an opportunity to recover from our circumstances and help others to recover too. The Recovery Foundation Cycle Team’s goal is to use the money raised towards a deposit for a property so they can build a detox unit to assist a large number of addicts in finding recovery. The Foundation also aims to reintegrate these individuals into society by helping them with opportunities for skills development, getting them into shape for work, and encouraging them to find a purpose.
The cause of recovery pushed The Recovery Foundation Cycle Team to take on the challenge of the 947 – a rather scary and daunting prospect for the average person. Luckily, they were part of a supportive, diverse and fun community that kept them all motivated in the lead up to the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge.
The lead up to the 947 Cycle Challenge
Nerves were high and you could feel the excitement in the lead up to the 947 Cycle Challenge. The Team underwent weekly training rides to prepare for the main event. Many of the team entered into races like the Tshwane Classic (60km and 98km) and The Carnival City Macsteel Cycle Race (110km, 60km, 58km and 34km) to help with their preparation. A Whatsapp Group was created so the team members could share their training ride selfies, tips, routes, information on the 947 Cycle Challenge, and their concerns with others. The Whatsapp group was buzzing with activity, inspiration, and zany banter, which fostered a fun and encouraging atmosphere for all the members.
This atmosphere of levity was definitely needed as the training was not easy…
“It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, not being able to sleep in on the weekends really is quite a struggle at times. It’s been nerve wrecking as well because I have always been petrified of riding on the road… The people in the group have been nothing short of helpful, kind and patient, and I definitely wouldn’t have been able to ride as far as I have had it not been for them,” said Jade.
The cyclists went through tough times as they had to build physical and mental endurance leading up to the final race. What appeared to push them to greater heights is the nature of the cause they were helping and their understanding of what The Recovery Foundation is trying to achieve.
Cycle Team member, Julz shares: “I think that TRF is doing well to put into practice what they set out to achieve. They have a lot of great ideas and the service is very good. It is not just about the race, but about getting people to participate. I think that all the effort that is going into the organisation of the 947 team will pay off. I think that this is only the beginning and that the foundation will grow tremendously in the years to come. I hope to be able to see their success and to continue to be involved in the initiative.”
Team mate, Trevor had this to say about the Foundation:
“I am a recovering addict and I’m four years clean. I find recovery from addiction is the most vital thing in anyone’s life. I have chosen to ride with The Recovery Foundation because I feel everyone deserves another chance in life.
“Addiction kills, steals and destroys the lives of not just the addict, but also the loved ones around him. My goal in doing this race is to show other people that no matter how hard a person’s past may have been, changes can be made. There is a way out of the dark tunnel of addiction and a light at the end of it. I chose to ride with this charity because God had given me a second chance at making a life for myself and I want to help others have that chance as well.”
Some personal feedback from the team
In response to a question asking them how they felt in the lead up to the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge, team members had this to say:
“Nervous! But excited as well – I can’t wait to be able to say I actually made it (something I swore a year or so ago I would never even attempt because I didn’t think I could).”
“Good. I have been training and I think the race will go well.”
“Nervous as I’ve never cycled so far before, but then, I am excited to achieve my goal of finishing the race.”
In closing, team members were asked what message they would like to pass on to those struggling with addiction. This is what they had to say:
“You are far stronger and more capable than you know, you are stronger and bigger than your addiction, you can conquer it, and you are so deserving of a beautiful full life!”
“There is Life and Hope after addiction.”
“Be brave – reach out to get help.”
Below are some of the photos circulated on the The Recovery Foundation 947 Cycle Team Whatsapp Group.
Keep an eye out for our next post covering The Recovery Foundation pre-race dinner and the results from The Recovery Foundation Cycle Team’s efforts at the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge!
For more information about The Recovery Foundation, follow this link.
If you would like to donate to the cause, click here!