At the end of March NAFA Secretary Russ Waller announced his participation in the Tour de Brisbane cycling event. Russ’ motivation is to raise funds for Sungava Home for Young Women with Intellectual Disability, which is one of NAFA’s ongoing health, disability and education commitments. However, within a couple of weeks of kicking off the fundraising, there was an outbreak of Covid-19 in South East Queensland and the event was disappointingly postponed.

The Tour de Brisbane is a UCI World Series road cycling event; one of 25 such annual events around the world. This is a serious ride which covers a 110km course and a total of 1,368m of elevation gain.

With training in mind and a necessary focus on both distance and hill climbing, Russ set himself a training goal to climb the equivalent of the height of Mount Everest (8,848m) between the beginning of January and the Tour to Brisbane itself in early April. At the beginning of March he had ‘reached’ Everest Base Camp (5,400m) and by late March he had ‘arrived’ at the South Col (7,900m), ready for a summit push at the Tour de Brisbane itself. But with the event cancelled he had no option but to retreat from the South Col and wait for the revised date.

Originally scheduled for 11th April, the Tour been rescheduled for the 11th July and so now he begins his preparation again. This time his training sets off from Kathmandu at an altitude of 1,400m on Monday 17th May, and he has 8 weeks to get back to the South Col in preparation for a summit bid, and the Tour de Brisbane 2021 on 11th July.

“I am dedicating my efforts to the Sungava Home for Young Women with Intellectual Disability in Kathmandu. The Sungava Home is a truly inspirational facility dedicated to supporting girls and women with intellectual disability by providing a safe and nurturing environment with the involvement of their parents. Sungava Home provides both day care and vocational training with a focus on life and domestic skills. The young women are engaged in creative activities and encouraged to take part in physical activity. Sungava also supports their general welfare and medical issues. I visited Sungava Home a couple of times in 2019 and can attest to the demanding, wonderful work to which the staff are committed. You can find out more on the Sungava Home website.

Fundraising ….. NAFA’s annual commitment to Sungava Home exceeds $8,000 and every dollar raised will assist in our efforts to support this wonderful facility. We had raised $2,048 prior to the Tour de Brisbane being postponed, so we have already made a great start. My sincere thanks to those who have already donated, rest assured that I remain committed to completing this challenge and earning your generous support. With 8 weeks to go to the rescheduled Tour de Brisbane it is time to revitalise our fundraising efforts. Please do what you can to support Sungava financially and spread the word to others, friends and colleagues, who may also be able to help raise funds.”