Mick, Lee, Graeme, and Rob took on and completed the challenge of a lifetime – to raise money that will transform thousands of children’s lives. Team Abana cycled in a race across the USA to give back childhoods to thousands of street children. All costs of the event were covered by the riders themselves so all donations have gone directly to support improved services for street and other vulnerable children.
For me, I guess it wasn’t so much a decision to do RAAM but a desire to do something in life that would make a difference outside of my own community. For many years I have travelled to places like Africa, India and Brazil and seen massive poverty, homelessness and children with literally nothing, trying to make their way through life. Returning home and reflecting on how fortunate my life is, and what privileges I have, made me decide I needed to do something meaningful.
I also wanted to do something that helped my children understand what they have and not take it for granted. To see that their typical day is very different to millions of others, and we shouldn’t ignore that and have an obligation to help. Hopefully the many hours of sweat and tears training for the event will be something they remember and are inspired by.
So, in late 2014, I bought a bike and set about convincing others to join me in a Team RAAM. I hadn’t ridden a road bike before, but knew a few people that had done the RAAM and read up on the enormity of the challenge. I figured, if I wanted to make a meaningful difference then I needed to do something that people would respect and take notice of – I didn’t want to be just another email asking for sponsorship, I wanted us to do something that inspired corporates in the countries affected by poverty to donate because they couldn’t ignore what we were doing.
Getting a team and crew together has been tough, and the organisation immense. But nothing compares to the training. It will be almost 2 years since buying my fist bike (I have bought another since then!), and I’ve been in training ever since, with the last year increasing in intensity. I ride almost every day now, sometimes for 2 or more hours before breakfast, shower and my day properly starts, and I’ll be hitting close to 20hrs a week by the time we reach RAAM.
I’m proud of getting this far, I’m grateful for the support of my family, but most of all I’m looking forward to seeing the difference our sponsorship makes to the lives of the children it touches.