Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 August 2019

Cycling4Gaza heads to Europe for 11th year with a firm focus on healthcare

A group of 50 cyclists will pedal 400km from Germany to Belgium for the fundraiser on August 28

Abu Dhabi banker Miral Alaraj participated in Cycling4Gaza in 2014. Photo: Ravindranath K / The National
Abu Dhabi banker Miral Alaraj participated in Cycling4Gaza in 2014. Photo: Ravindranath K / The National

It takes about four days to cycle the 400-kilometre distance between Frankfurt and Brussels, a feat that riders will attempt for a good cause, starting Wednesday, August 28. The 50 cyclists, who hail from all over the world, are part of the Cycling4Gaza movement, now in its 11th year. Their aim is to raise £180,000 (Dh804,000) to support medical projects provided by The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund.

The ride

The fundraiser will begin from​ Mertesdorf,Germany​ at 10am for a 60km ride up an 850-metre climb to Vianden, Luxembourg.

Day two involves a 78km ride to Saint-Hubert in Belgium, over a steep 1200-metre ascent.

Day three requires the cyclists to traverse 94km to Dinant with a 920-metre climb.

And day four aims to get cyclists to the EU parliament in Brussels by 4pm after a 108km ride.

Healthy numbers

Since its inception, riders within the Cycling4Gaza community have pedalled across 3,000 kilometres in 10 countries: the UK, USA, Jordan, Turkey, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain.

The group has raised more than £1.5 million for sustainable healthcare and education projects in Gaza.

The combined projects have impacted the lives of 15,000 children and 8,000 families in the Gaza Strip and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

This year's 50-strong riders are almost double the number who took part in the Cycling4Gaze event in 2018, from Boston to New York.

Miles to go...

"This year Cycling4Gaza is ​Cycling4Freedoms​: ​freedom of movement and freedom of access to healthcare," explains founder Zara Hannoun. "The lack of freedom of movement experienced by the people of Gaza takes many forms, and curtails access to healthcare in a number of ways. For instance, doctors and patients are not free to leave or enter Gaza without permits, which are frequently rejected and take a long time to issue if approved. Further, medications and medical equipment cannot move freely in and out of the territory, which has caused a crisis in healthcare provision."

With the money it raises this year, Cycling4Gaze in partnership with the Palestinian Children's Relief Fund has a four-fold plan:

1.Sending injured and sick children abroad for free medical care.

2. Sponsoring medical missions to provide treatment in Gaza.

3. Sponsoring physical therapy for children with cerebral palsy in northern Gaza.

4. Training doctors and nurses in paediatric cancer care abroad.

Updated: August 7, 2019 11:35 AM

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