The challenge was launched on Thursday in the presence of Health Minister Godfrey Farrugia at the Renal Unit, which has received millions of euros worth of equipment and services from the previous 15 editions, including kidney machines, air-conditioning for the unit, a haemodialysis reverse osmosis plant, LCD screens for the patients, the services of a dietician and a van to facilitate the provision of evening dialysis services.
Dr Farrugia thanked the Foundation for its success in raising money for the Renal Unit for the benefit of all the renal patients and their families.
The LifeCycle Foundation also donated €70,000 to the Research Innovation and Development Trust (RIDT) set up through the University of Malta, which will be used to support a research programme into renal failure and its possible prevention. Only a few of the 760 charities in Malta raise money for research so this donation is a real breakthrough.
“This donation marks the beginning of a long-term collaboration between the RIDT and LifeCycle (Malta) Foundation. It is uplifting to see local charities acknowledging and supporting research.” Wilfred Kenely, the chief executive officer of the University’s RIDT said. A working group will be set up to work on the terms of this collaboration.
The Challenge is once again being sponsored by the integrated speciality pharmaceutical company, Actavis which last year donated €20,000, will this year be donating over €20,000.
The challenge is ranked as one of the hardest in the world. The route is gruelling – with cyclists doing an average of over 200km each and every day, across terrain chosen specifically for its difficulty.
Each participant has to raise a set amount of money before they are allowed to participate, which they do through a mixture of corporate sponsorships and fundraising events. These have to be organised in between several hours of training every day as well as home and work commitments.
By the time they leave in September, the cyclists will have been doing eight hours of training a day in preparation for the average 200km they will have to do every day during the challenge.