For the past twelve months ChallengeMD! has been a pivotal activity for staff at the MDA, for me and 31 other riders who formed the ChallengeMD! Team. Significant effort and energy had been expended to ensure the event ran smoothly, maximum personal fitness was achieved to ensure safe completion and the securing of sponsorship to make all the effort worthwhile.
Conveying to our MD community, its supporters, sponsors and the general public about the huge success of ChallengeMD! is important. To me “the ride” represented so much more than the blood, sweat and tears that flowed so freely from so many in the months leading up to the ride and during the challenge itself. It was the greatest example of teamwork that I have had the privilege and honour of participating in. It was a formidable team driven by a multitude of reasons for involvement. Joanne Dexter was motivated by the fact that her son Jack is affected by MD. Brett and Katrina Bugeja’s son Ben was recently diagnosed, so together with their friends and family, they were also motivated to get on board. Personal Trainer Glen Walsh and Barry Michael were both moved to help through their knowledge of my circumstance. And of course my oldest son Leon said he came along to “make sure I pedalled every kilometre through Vietnam.” Each of the riders had a personal goal, a personal objective, a reason for registering, training and then participating, but common to all was the strong desire to Make a Difference.
Barry Michael, Boris M Struk & Andrew J Kornberg
This was physically, mentally and emotionally, bar one exception – Ryan’s diagnosis of DMD, the hardest thing that I have ever endured. I drew a significant degree of comfort and strength in the knowledge that I was just one cog of a wheel comprising so many, in the ChallengeMD! Team, with each turn of the pedal on my trusty Harley and with each drop of sweat, I was ever so mindful of the deepest gratitude I had to my fellow riders. Equally I was grateful to all the supporters and sponsors back home who sent their best wishes, and contributed so generously to make this a financial success as well. After all, this generosity resulted in over $420,000 being raised by ChallengeMD! 2006. A remarkable result!
The publicity that was generated before and during the ride was truly amazing and helped to further profile Muscular Dystrophy here in Australia and Vietnam. We had riders coming from all parts including; Queensland, Florida in USA and Istanbul in Turkey. This was an international event held in a climatically hostile environment with daily temperatures hovering between 35 and 40 degrees with unbelievable humidity. However this was all tempered significantly by the friendly and welcoming nature of the Vietnamese locals. In every city, town and village we pedalled through we were greeted by kids and adults alike, with excited calls of “hello” and thousands of high fives. These are all wonderful memories which are difficult to convey in a brief report such as this.
From the deepest parts of my heart I thank our riders and supporters for making this happen. Many of the riders have already signed up for ChallengeMD! 2007 and fitness permitting, it will be the greatest of honours to lead the team through Cambodia in support of Muscular Dystrophy. Exciting details of ChallengeMD! 2007 will be launched shortly.
Thank you once again Fellow Riders, sponsors and supporters – you have Made a Difference!!
This has indeed been a challenging and exciting period for the MDA.
Until next time,