Simon Durdey, and his team of incredible traders, pulled lots of strings and in one day of trading managed to raise an amount of R176,000.00 which he handed over to CHOC. It took a lot of initiative, planning and hutzpa, but if you ask him about it all, he’ll tell you he was most proud of his suggestion to sell cow bracelets. Simon was also the first ice cream bike rider across the finish line. Ask him about that and he’ll tell you it was the tandem father-son team attached to the front of his bike that did all the work. Rarely, in history, have there ever been such a fine congregated crew of honourable men and women.
Mark Thijs When Mark Thijs joined the crew with a few weeks to go, he didn’t just arrive, he rocked up. Few knew what to expect from this competitive cyclist who through the year had already done the Cape Epic, Johannesburg to Durban bike ride and a list of bike races longer than the notches on Tiger’s bed post. Did we forget to mention that this was after having been diagnosed with bladder cancer in January and having undergone three operations? He was in middle of his second bout of chemo one week before the bike race and opted to add one additional layer to his challenge – to do the race on a chopper bicycle. Some do with words, some do with action. Mark may not be aware of it, but he inspired a bunch of people teaching them to face their fears and take it head on.
Not only did he rock through the race but raised a jaw dropping R91,400.00. The Supercows have already asked that the indestructible Mark be prepped to lead them in the 2010 race.
Richard Laskey The guy on the right with the Motorhead chops is Richard Laskey. Rich had been doing races for charity solo for almost a decade before the Cows were conceived. It only made sense that he was part of the first herd that rode in 2008. He had tested every ultra endurance limit and was the expert on racing in animal regalia. He had done the Comrades ultra marathon dressed in a dog suit – he understood suffering.
And, as Life often does, Richard was thrown a curveball while working like a Trojan on the Cow committee. His wife, Melanie, was diagnosed with a rare cancerous tumour which would require immediate expert surgery followed by chemotherapy. During these toughest of times, Richard kept plugging away selflessly with his cow committee duties ensuring that this setback would not affect the cow drive.
Following the success of the CHOC Cows, an appeal was made from Richard’s running club, Bedfordview Country Club (which had gladly donated several of its members to the herd), to the 94.7 radio station and its Christmas wish program. Richard, Mel and their three glorious daughters were yanked back from Johannesburg after having reached Harrismith on their way to the coast. They were waiting for chemo drugs and were on their way to a family holiday before Mel underwent chemo. Celebrity DJs - Jeremy Mansfield and Sam Cowan, together with the Christmas wish team, elected to honour Richard for all the work that he had done for charity at the 94.7 Christmas concert at the Dome and to assist him with the ever increasing medical expenses. The main cause for concern for the evening was to ensure that the Laskeys didn’t donate the money back to CHOC. It was highly likely that this would cross their minds.
There were very few dry faces at the Dome that night.
The Cows managed to raise R2.2m far exceeding anyone’s, especially their own, expectations. A house will be built, a car will be bought and children’s lives would be enhanced, and given a second chance. The question is “What now for the CHOC Cows?” The number of the herd had grown from 6 to 130 in a year, so it was inevitable that discussions of continuing the drive to 2010 began to stir. Two of The Cows are on the CHOC spending committee to ensure the money raised is spent wisely on the new CHOC home. And a list has already begun with people signing up for 2010.
Will The Cows ride again? Well, to be frank, I don’t think The Cows ever did stop riding.
Time to get on board,