In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the National State of Disaster and Lockdown and the consequent postponement of #Comrades2020, the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has advised its athletes that the closing of the Race4Charity platform has also been extended indefinitely.
CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn says, “The #Comrades2020 Race4Charity platform was originally scheduled to close on 2 May but the CMA’s CSI Committee has decided to keep it open until further notice.”
Winn adds, “We are mindful of the millions of rand raised for our six Official Charities by our runners and supporters via various Amabeadibeadi charity platforms. Our charitable initiatives have not only benefitted South Africa’s social and environmental landscape but have also become synonymous with the fabric and altruistic values of the Comrades Marathon and we believe that even more can be done to support the work of our charities during this time of crisis.”
Winn has further advised that a comprehensive review of all #Comrades2020 race processes and other deadlines will take place once the Lockdown has been lifted and a postponement date announced.
Race4Charity gets runners, supporters and the general public involved in collectively fundraising for the benefit of our charities. Click through HERE for more information.
The annual Comrades Toyota Win-a-Car competition is also a driving force of the Amabeadibeadi Charity initiative whereby a beautiful new Toyota Corolla Quest will be up for grabs. Raffle tickets cost R10 each and may be purchased until 12 noon on 14 June from each of the six official charities or online HERE
Meanwhile, the six Official Amabeadibeadi Charities – Community Chest of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, Childhood Cancer Foundation (CHOC), Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust, Hospice Palliative Care of South Africa, Wildlands Conservation Trust and World Vision South Africa – have had their work cut out for them, in responding to the COVID-19 crisis and serving their respective beneficiaries.
Winn has urged all runners and supporters to continue their efforts in raising and contributing funds for their chosen charity, saying, “We are impressed and humbled by what our Official Charities are doing to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their target communities.”
The Community Chest has donated R150-thousand to the Denis Hurley Centre in Durban, where hundreds of homeless people are being sheltered and cared for during the lockdown. In addition, R12.1-million in grants has been pledged to 92 Community Impact Partners, who offer vital care and services to a wide spectrum of needs. R500-thousand has also been committed to 5 organisations who are providing essential services to the vulnerable and frail, as well as donations of food which are being distributed to ECD (early childhood development) centres which will facilitate delivery to hundreds of vulnerable individuals.
The Hospice Palliative Care Association (HPCA) throughout South Africa provides essential Palliative Care and Support to the thousands of people on their programmes. People living with life-limiting illnesses are extremely vulnerable at this time and are finding it extremely stressful, especially where families cannot travel to see their dying loved ones. Hospices have focused on basic screening as well as working together with all partners to ensure that our communities receive care, standing on the frontline to provide essential services.
World Vision South Africa’s (WVSA) response to COVID-19 is that of being locked down but not shut down! WVSA has Essential Service Accreditation and is supporting vulnerable children, families and frontline workers with life-saving essentials. They are further supporting vulnerable families with everyday essentials including soap and hand sanitizer; educating communities on preventing the spread of the virus; providing frontline workers with personal protective equipment; supporting vulnerable children with psychosocial support; and providing emergency food assistance to children affected by the crisis.
The WILDTRUST teams have been working remotely in order to flatten the curve and protect all employees and their families. For the Somkhanda Community Game Reserve, the team is providing water to communities around the reserve to ensure the stability for agriculture, livestock and to enable people to practice safe hygiene. The WILDOCEANS team together with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the ISimangaliso Authorities and the Umhlabuyalingana Municipality have distributed food parcels to the value of R120-thousand to rural communities around the Isimangaliso Wetland Park.
The Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust’s (HACT) dedicated team is working tirelessly during the Lockdown to assist vulnerable families and communities as well as support our Government’s rapid COVID-19 response programme through a door-to-door community COVID-19 screening campaign aimed at preventing, identifying, isolating and treating new Corona Virus cases. This week, HACT is also distributing 100 food parcels to vulnerable families including child-headed households and gogos living in the Valley of 1000 Hills. Their 24-bed Respite Unit has also remained open to provide 24-hour inpatient care to critically ill children and adults suffering from advanced stages of AIDS or cancer.
The Childhood Cancer Foundation (CHOC) has had to upscale initiatives to ensure that all children living with cancer are kept safe, are attending treatment and keeping up their fight to survive. Essential services include the provision of masks and sanitizers, accommodation close to treatment centres, provision of food parcels, access for transport funding so that they can attend treatment and psychosocial support to assist families to be able to cope with the challenges of COVID-19 and a childhood cancer diagnosis.
Winn adds, “We understand that these are uncertain times but we do hope to bring a level of certainty regarding #Comrades2020 and all sub-events once the National Lockdown has been lifted and Athletics South Africa advises the CMA on a way forward. We appeal to all Comrades runners, past runners and supporters to please support the crucial work of our Comrades Marathon Official Charities.”