|Approaching Wollongong, MS Gong Ride, 6 Nov 2011|
Last November I cycled 90 km from Sydney to Wollongong in the company of 10,000 other riders. Each of us had pledged to raise a minimum of $250 for Multiple Sclerosis Australia. By the day of the ride I had raised over $1,100 from 23 sponsors. That experience prompted me to make my ride across America into a fundraiser. It will be a very much larger undertaking than the Gong Ride was. It will challenge me physically and mentally to a greater extent and for a longer period of time than anything else I have attempted.
The charity I have chosen to raise funds for is Operation Smile. This worldwide, not-for-profit, secular, children’s medical charity has its headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, close to where my ride will start, and has a strong presence in Australia. It provides free treatment to children and young adults suffering from childhood facial deformities in developing countries. The deformities in question are mainly cleft lip and cleft palate. As well as being disfiguring, they can cause difficulty with feeding, speaking, hearing and socialising. Left untreated, children with cleft lip or palate are likely to experience poor psychosocial development and have reduced prospects for education, employment, and marriage. This very disadvantageous condition can, however, be put right relatively quickly, easily, and inexpensively through a surgical repair. The dramatic results that can be achieved and the transformation that can be effected in the patient’s quality of life make the work of Operation Smile very well worth supporting in my opinion.
I hope that many people who read this blog and follow my bicycle trip across America will choose to show their support by making a donation to Operation Smile. To make it easy to do so, and to associate sponsors’ contributions with my journey, I have set up two web pages through which secure online donations may be made.
- If you are an Australian taxpayer or prefer to contribute in Australian dollars, go here: http://www.mycause.com.au/mycause/raise_money/fundraise.php?id=50524
- If you are a US taxpayer or wish to donate in US dollars directly to Operation Smile, go here: http://support.operationsmile.org/site/TR/Events/General?pxfid=19630&fr_id=1030&pg=fund
My trip is entirely self-financed and no part of your donation will go to me.
Thank you for joining me in helping to make a real practical improvement in people’s lives. I express my gratitude in this general way in case I am not able to write to you personally to thank you. Although I am notified when a donation is made, I may not always have the donor's contact details. I am, nevertheless, deeply appreciative of your generosity.