Pietermaritzburg - The Dusi Canoe Marathon continues to be used as a vehicle to spread awareness and few paddlers embody this more than Megan van der Merwe who will be paddling in the name of cerebral palsy at this year's event from February 15-17.
Van der Merwe, who is mother of two children that have cerebral palsy, and has taken on the challenge to raise funds and awareness around the condition and is striving to raise as much money as possible for the Kwazulu-Natal Cerebral Palsy Foundation.
"My two children Emma (2) and James (21 Months) were born very premature and in November of 2017 I decided that I wanted to raise money for cerebral palsy," Van der Merwe said.
"I have paddled six Dusi's in the past and have been away from paddling for four years because of the kids but thought that the Dusi was the best platform to try and spread awareness and raise money.
“My amazing friend Jono (Hartley) came up with this incredible idea for us to paddle this year's Dusi Canoe Marathon with purpose of raising awareness for CP and fundraising for The KZN Cerebral Palsy Association.
"There are cerebral palsy sufferers that are far worse off than us so to donate as much money as possible to the KZN foundation became the goal."
There has never been a set amount of money in mind that Van der Merwe wanted to raise and she and Hartley will be happy with every cent that they manage to donate.
"The CP Foundation in KZN has sent us numerous messages thanking us for the help and this motivates us to try and get in as much money as possible.
"We have a week left before the race so we want to try and spread the word as widely as possible in the next seven days.
"We've managed to put together R9 700 so far but we are hoping for more," the Hillcrest-based Van der Merwe added.
Taking part in endurance events and using them as opportunities to spread a cause or raise funds for a worthy foundation is not a new concept, however Van der Merwe wants to try and continue this work in the future.
"I teach a spinning class every day and do a lot of running and paddling so I am thinking of branching out but I want to try and raise money for the KZN CP Foundation at every Dusi that I take part in from now on.
"We are very busy on social media and if people want to find us they can search for #Paddle4emmaandjames or search for Megan van der Merwe on Facebook," she added.
Doit4charity.co.za provides an easy way for people to raise money for their favourite charity online by participating in sporting, social and other events. Search for Megan van der Merwe to donate.