As Cycling 4 Mobility’s primary annual fundraiser, Sappi Scottburgh MTB Race organiser and Cycling 4 Mobility founder, Flavio Scarpa has implored cyclists the province over to submit their 45km Sappi Scottburgh MTB Race, 28km Dash & Splash and 10km Family Fun Ride entries ahead of Wednesday 10 August’s online entry deadline and play their part in empowering those in need.

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The Sappi Scottburgh MTB Race - the 2016 edition of which takes place on Sunday 14 August - is Cycling 4 Mobility's single biggest annual fundraiser outside of rare corporate contributions such as the R200 000 given to C4M founder, Flavio Scarpa (left) in 2014 by Old Mutual Foundation Head, Dr. Clarence Tshitereke (right). Supplied/ Gameplan Media

“As cyclists, we always love a challenge however for someone with a disability – especially one that prevents you from being able to move around independently – every single day is a challenge,” says Scarpa.

“Since Cycling 4 Mobility’s launch four years ago at the 2012 Old Mutual joBerg2c, we’ve purchased over 200 wheelchairs and given them to disabled people throughout the country, particularly along the joBerg2c route.

“Our Scottburgh MTB Race title sponsors, Sappi have been incredible supporters of Cycling 4 Mobility since the beginning and we look forward to more corporates following suit and getting involved in our efforts in the future!

“With the assistance of participants of this year’s Sappi Scottburgh MTB Race, we hope to again raise over R20 000 and make an immeasurable difference to the lives of those whom we’re able to help,” he adds.

Several pre-2012 joBerg2c fund raisers saw the Cycling for Mobility crew raise over R20 000 before a cycling jersey auction together with contributions by Subaru, Old Mutual and various privateers during the race added another R60 000 to the cause.

Upon the completion of the 2014 joBerg2c, Scarpa – on behalf of Cycling 4 Mobility – was presented with a cheque from Old Mutual for a whopping R200 000, paving the way for more than 130 wheelchairs to be purchased and distributed through XPS South Africa’s generous assistance.

ccs-62657-0-02960900-1470139380.jpgFlavio (left) and Jacqui Scarpa (centre) as well as Beth McLeod's Cycling 4 Mobility work of purchasing and distributing wheelchairs to those in need is made easier by corporate contributions such as the R200 000 they were presented with by Old Mutual Sponsorships & Events Manager, Bandile Mngoma in 2014, however the Sappi Scottburgh MTB Race remains the organisation's biggest annual fundraiser. Supplied/ Gameplan Media

“In our first year, we managed to raise enough money to distribute four wheelchairs to each of the regions which hosted one of the joBerg2c’s overnight stops.

“Old Mutual’s incredible contribution then allowed us to give out twenty wheelchairs in Johannesburg, 40 in the Free State, 20 in and around Scottburgh with the balance being distributed as and when cases have been presented to us since then.

While Scarpa, his wife, Jacqui and Beth McLeod continue to provide assistance to as many people as possible with the provision of standard-issue wheelchairs, the Cycling 4 Mobility team are also aware of the unique challenges presented by the environment in which many of the grateful recipients live.

“Going forward, it would be fantastic if we could be in a position to consider providing those who meet our basic criteria with specialised wheelchairs that are durable and robust enough to cope with the tough conditions of the rural areas they are used in,” explains Scarpa.

“Beth, Jacqui and I are all very proud of the work we’ve done so far but continuing to help people in need and who have little other means of receiving assistance continues to motivate us to do more.

“As we aim to achieve our Cycling 4 Mobility goals, the contribution the riders of the Sappi Scottburgh MTB Race make simply by taking part in the race each year really is hugely appreciated!” he adds.

The 2016 Sappi Scottburgh MTB Race is third and 'sea' leg of the inaugural South Coast MTB Series and takes place on Sunday 14 August. More information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scottburgh-Mtb-Race/221420711386243.