A tired but elated Danielo “Danny” Fernandes draws to a stop outside the Animal Welfare Society Helderberg (AWSH) in Gordon’s Bay at 3.03pm on Saturday, and the distance tracker on his bike says it all: 1 024km.
The sheen in dad Frank’s eyes, as he stands next to Danny for a photo opportunity, speaks volumes. “I’m just so very, very proud of him,” he manages to say.
Danny’s journey started on Saturday morning November 26, when he departed from AWSH on his epic 1 000km ride for the animals (“Danielo is riding for the animals” – Bolander, November 23) through the Overberg, along Route 62, down to Cape Agulhas at the southern tip of Africa, and along the coast back to Gordon’s Bay, and just two weeks later, having “seen so many amazing places and met so many amazing people, that are very like-minded and that care about animals like I do” he arrives back to a rousing welcome and the news that his ride hadsraised over R70 000.
“It is just so inspiring that a young guy like Danny, can at his own expense and initiative, tackle a 1 000km journey and raise such a phenomenal amount of money and create such amazing awareness for animal welfare,” says Roger Ramos who has supported Danny in his ride, including managing the bank account where sponsorships have accumulated.
“Danny has raised over R70 000 from a mix of corporate sponsors and private individuals, with donations ranging from a few hundred Rand to a few thousand Rand, which will be split equally between AWSH and Rescue Animal Drive (RAD), an NGO in the Overberg, which does work similar to AWSH,” says Roger.
“It’s pretty satisfying I suppose, that I can do something that is close to my heart and just raise some money for something that I care about. I’m very tired, but I’m very happy,” says Danny. “The first three days were the toughest because I was quite unfit, but I just had to push through that. After a bit of a rest I carried on, and just knowing what I was riding for, made it a lot easier.”
Roger and his wife Nicola, met up with Danny around Barrydale and Roger and Danny rode together for a time. “Cycling with him for part of the way, gave me the opportunity to afford Danny some companionship and support,” says Roger Ramos, “but it also gave me an opportunity to be in his shoes, and to see what it was like out there on those lonely roads, for so many days.”
“While Roger cycled with me, it was nice to have a change of conversation,” says Danny, “rather than the one in my own head. It was really cool, and it helped to take my mind off what remained of the 1 000km.”
Would he do it again? “Yes, I think I would do it again, but I would do a lot of things differently. Aside from the tough times on the ride, it was something that I really did enjoy, and just being here now makes it all worthwhile,” Danny concludes.
It is still possible to contribute to Danny’s fundraising drive for AWSH and RAD. Contact him on 082 840 7036 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Nicola Ramos on 084 803 8873 or email@example.com for more information.