An odd group of five bankers and doctors have embarked on a bicycle journey from Delhi’s India Gate to Mumbai’s Gateway of India to raise funds for underprivileged children fighting with cancer.
The story of this incredible journey starts with Wurlee 545, a group of a few amateur bicycle enthusiasts who would meet every morning in Worli, Mumbai to pursue their common interest on wheels and stay fit.
The relay nonstop cycle journey of 1,500 km aims to raise funds for the Mumbai-based St Jude Childcare Centre, a non-profit organisation that provides accommodation for children from poor families undergoing cancer treatment in five cities across the country.
Having already raised 1.2 crore rupees through crowd funding and philanthropy, the group expects to manage a figure of 1.5 crore.
“We are following the relay race format with 3 sets of riders. Each rider will ride around 500 kilometers over 3 days. This is 60 hours nonstop marathon challenge, with 10 riders and 5 in spare. We also have a support staff of 8 people,” says Jaymin Shah, Country Manager of a renowned Swiss bicycle brand (SCOTT), sponsoring the bikes.
“Each bicycle costs 2.5 lakh rupees, so the rider’s comfort is not an issue. These premium range bicycles will be auctioned 15 days after the completion of ride, in Mumbai,” adds Shah.
The ride with a tag line ‘Wheels won’t stop’ has already got twitter support from cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh besides author Chetan Bhagat.
“The ratio of children affected with this deadly disease
is very low. The biggest challenge is timely diagnosis as no parent will expect their child to have been affected with cancer. It is a kind of disease which is normally thought of as an ‘unfortunate gift’ of age or time. In this way the disease gets overlooked most of the time and the child gets end up being treated for a normal fever or weakness,” says Aditya Daftary, a radiologist based in Mumbai and one of the Wurlee 545 riders.
The Mumbai based NGO runs 18 centers across major 5 cities in India. “As a not for profit organisation, we help underprivileged children affected with cancer to get subsidised treatment. Our main role is providing shelter, food and basic amenities to such families who come to cities like Delhi and Mumbai for the treatment,” says Gargi Mashruwala, vice president at the NGO.
The organisation, since its inception has helped 860 children, with 320 of them successfully treated of the disease. Gargi doesn’t forget to mention about a cancer affected girl who was among the first cases taken by the NGO, successfully treated and now pursuing a Paramedical course at Jamia Milia.
“We also helped her to get advanced prosthetic legs,” says Gargi.
Dr Abhay Nene, another cyclist and a Mumbai-based spine surgeon says that these underprivileged children are forced to sleep on streets during the course of treatment.
“This leads to them being affected with other infections and diseases as they live in unhygienic conditions. This is how the main treatment gets sidelined,” he says.