Paddle pushers

The Cape Town Cycle Tour on Sunday March 6 saw more than 100 cyclists riding for the Children’s Hospital Trust team to raise money for the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

Donning colourful trust-branded T-shirts, cyclists from all walks of life had two goals: complete the gruelling 109km and raise as much money as possible to build a bigger and better paediatric intensive care unit for the hospital.

Trust spokesperson Roxy Mitchell, who rode in the race, said: “The Cape Town Cycle Tour is always an incredible day out, albeit challenging. It was so impressive to see our cycle team in the trust colours and brand, while working so hard on the bikes to show that they are not only up for a challenge but that they support child health care through raising a minimum of R2 000 as a donation. For many children in the hospital, every day is a challenge. Each cyclist and supporter who helped to raise money for the ICU upgrade and expansion has done their part to give childhood back.”

The R100 million-plus project will see intensive care services delivered to critically ill and injured children significantly improved. Capacity will also be greatly increased, addressing the desperate need for more beds to treat some of the continent’s sickest little patients. Between March and June, the trust is calling on the public to help raise the last R10 million to see this building project through to completion.

The hospital’s 22-bed paediatric ICU is the largest in Africa. It provides emergency care for critically ill or injured children from within the Western Cape, the rest of South Africa and the African continent, but the demand it faces outstrips its capacity.

Construction on the new unit began in October last year and is expected to be completed by October 2017. The 22-bed facility will increase to 39 bed spaces, and will include an urgently needed 10-bed high care neonatal unit as well as isolation cubicles to improve infection control.

The expansion and upgrade will also create more comfortable and supportive spaces for parents as well as breastfeeding mothers. Currently, family members have no privacy or space between life-saving equipment as they sit vigil at their child’s side. Increased space will also mean that staff, who work very long hours saving lives in tough conditions, will have adequate support facilities.

“We are so proud of each cyclist who attempted or completed the epic race on Sunday,” said trust CEO Louise Driver. “The trust is very appreciative that they have chosen to support us through their cycling efforts.”

* Visit to find out more about the fund-raising campaign.