Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Mumbai to Pune and back...need your help to support us for 320 km
I am writing on the blog after a while, and have now vowed to update it on a weekly basis. In the meanwhile, I have been training for some extended torture on a bicycle seat. Last year, my friend and I cycled from Mumbai to Pune non-stop in about 7 hours. We decided to solicit monetary support from our friends and family to help underprivileged children in the area of education and cancer support. What started of as a fitness goal, led to a collection well in excess of Rs. 15 lakhs. Your support overwhelmed us and this year we have decided to set a staggering target for charity, and the fitness goal is secondary. Please read our request below and lend your support to brighten a child's life. At the end of the blog, I have put up some links which covered our ride last year.
To those who know, we are back again ! To those that are seeing this for the first time, we solicit your monetary support for a good cause and your prayers as we cycle from Mumbai to Pune and back non-stop, for charity.
The three of us, Jaideep Khanna, Prashant Mehta and, Aashish Contractor are keen amateur athletes who also have an interest in charity. Every year we plan our training schedule around a fitness goal, and to ensure that we stick to it, we use it to achieve a philanthropic goal. Over the past couple of years we have approached colleagues, friends and family to raise money for worthy charities using the one big event and our participation as a draw.
Last year we set ourselves the goal of riding from Mumbai to Pune non-stop, covering a distance of 175 km. The ride was not part of a formally organised event and was entirely self-funded. We used the ride to raise money for St. Jude Child Care Centre, an NGO that works with children suffering from cancer and for Akanksha, an NGO engaged in providing education for under-privileged children. We were quite successful, raising over Rs 15 lakhs from our network. This amount was raised entirely from individuals, not from corporations.
This year we have upped both the monetary target and the physical challenge. We hope to raise more than twice the amount we did last year and cover nearly double the distance. Our charity goal is to raise money for St.Jude's and this time we are targeting a significantly larger corpus, hopefully well in excess of Rs 30 lakhs. In the last week, a very close family member of mine has been diagnosed with cancer and has just been operated for the same. Her brave fight has made me more determined to complete the ride strongly, and your monetary support will go a long way in helping the fight against cancer. We do appreciate that many of you already have a favourite cause which you support, and if you wish to donate to it instead of St. Jude, that's fine as well. The purpose of the ride is to use the cycle as a vehicle to benefit the underprivileged.
On April 1, the three of us will ride from Mumbai University to Pune University and back again, covering a distance of 320 km, including the Mumbai-Pune ghats. To put the physical challenge in context, the distance is much longer than the longest stage of the world's most gruelling cycling event, the Tour de France. In 2011, the longest stage was a flat stage of 226.5 km. During the 14-16 hours non-stop that we expect to be on the bike we will face temperatures ranging from 20*C to over 40*C. In training we have dodged erratic truckers, rowdy motorists, mad dogs and assorted potholes; hopefully, it is no worse on D-day. In order to minimize some of these obstacles, we will be riding through the night.
To speed us on our way and to give us motivation when our legs are flagging, our heads are sagging and our butts are reminding us that they were not designed to be planted on 5 inch wide cycle seats for 15 hours at a time, please donate generously. St. Jude Child Care Centres does wonderful work with very sick children. They are contributing to society in ways that are an inspiration to all of us and, most importantly, reaffirm the generosity and selflessness of the human spirit.
We ask you to pledge an amount per km of distance that we cover- for example, Rs10 per Km will result in a Rs 3200 pledge, Rs 100 will result in Rs 32,000 and Rs 1000 per km will result in a Rs 3,20,000 pledge if we make it to Pune and back. To establish a minimum corpus, the three of us are pledging Rs. 3,50,000, of our own money.
Please be generous in your support. The kids need it. The three of us will definitely need it.
Aashish, Prashant and Jaideep
P.S. We will write again once the ride is over with details of how it went and also with instructions on settlement
P.P.S Please forward this to friends who you think might contribute
P.P.P.S. In the event that you wish to support a charity of your choice, please let us know the amount of your pledge and the name of the charity. After the ride is over, we will arrange to have the amounts collected from you and delivered to the charity of your choice.
St. Jude Child Care Centre: www.stjudechild.org/ St. Jude Child Care Centres is an organisation founded by Nihal and Shyama Kaviratne that provides free housing for children and parents that come to Bombay for cancer treatment. Typically, all these children live outside Bombay and are not in a position to take care of treatment AND pay for a place to stay. Most of their treatments are subsidised through various trusts that Tata Memorial, Wadia and Raheja hospitals recognise but what St. Jude does is make sure these kids finish their entire treatment by providing them with a place to stay and all the emotional support that comes along with it. At present they have 7 centres - 1 in Mhasker Hospital, 2 in Parel run out of the Indian Cancer Society building and 4 in Kharghar.
Aashish Contractor, 40 years, Preventive Cardiologist and Head of Department of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Asian Heart Institute
Prashant Mehta, 43 years, CEO, Komli.com
Jaideep Khanna, 47 years, Managing Director and Head of Corporate and Investment Banking, Barclays, India.
Links describing last year's ride: