Keeping in mind the COVID-19 situation, which is still very much unstable in several countries worldwide, the LifeCycle (Malta) Foundation is closely monitoring the conditions not only here in Malta and Gozo, but also in Argentina and Chile where next year’s challenge will be held between February 21 and March 6.

A 2,000-kilometres challenge from Buenos Aires to Santiago over the Andes Mountains in just 10 days is what attracted 36 cyclists and nine support team members to volunteer last February, to raise funds for kidney patients in our country. 

This challenge will mark the first time the foundation sets foot in South America, as it celebrates its 21st anniversary in raising money and providing care for persons suffering from renal failure. With the training originally planned to start in June and the dates set for the actual challenge in October, it soon became apparent that this would not be possible due to the restrictions on travel and the danger to health in general. 

LifeCycle founder Alan Curry said: “It would have been easy to cancel the event altogether, but being the positive and determined group that we are, and after inquiring about the lifecyclists’ availabilities, we decided to push the date to  February 21, 2021. 

“In the meantime, we all still have commitments to the renal patients and the nursing staff which we feel obliged to honour; so if we can pull this challenge off, it will be wonderful for all concerned. South America will not only see our first challenge on that continent but will also see LifeCycle pass the milestone of 50 international cycling challenges since its inception in 1999 and raising a staggering €3 million in the process.”

Nestlé Malta will still be supporting this 21st demanding challenge with its iconic coffee brand Nescafé as title sponsor. The sponsorship will be dedicated towards a new research programme into genotype-phenotype of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease at the University of Malta and towards Renal Unit Support Health Hub (RUSH), which offers ongoing psychological help to renal patients.

The chairperson of the foundation, Shirley Cefai, said: “In addition to the main cycling challenge, we are holding the financial fort through several sponsors collected from our enthusiastic participants, as fundraising has proven to be a continuous test.”

Regardless, smaller events will still be organised in the meantime. The committee has promised to continue supporting Traccia – the software solution at Mater Dei’s Renal Unit − and will be making a donation to the unit very soon.

The ongoing treatment of renal patients is a bottomless pit.

“Although the government does its part, it’s essential to realise that no matter what amount of money one raises, it’s never enough because this is a chronic condition.

Let’s hope that the 45 energetic participants will fly on February 21 and that they return safely two weeks later while raising more money and awareness for the patients who depend so much on such acts of charity.”

LifeCycle (Malta) Foundation, the only NGO raising money to support renal patients in Malta, works hand in hand with the Renal Unit medical staff at Mater Dei Hospital and the University of Malta’s kidney disease research team through the University’s Research Trust (RIDT).  Besides, LifeCycle Foundation also generates awareness about organ transplants in Malta.

Donations for the Nescafé LifeCycle Challenge 2021 can be made by Revolut on 99329101, by PayPal on this link: https://buff.ly/35g17CC and via sms: 5061 7370 = €2.33; 5061 8920 = €6.99; 5061 9229 = €11.65; or via a call to 5160 2020 = €10, 5170 2005 = €15; and 5180 2006 =€25. Bank details are Swift code VALLMTMT, IBAN MT 18 VALL 22013000000014814521017, Bank name Bank of Valletta, Account number 14814521017. For more information, please visit www.lifecyclechallenge.com. For donations towards Nescafé LifeCycle Challenge 2021, please visit the foundation’s Facebook page on https://www.facebook.com/LifeCycleChallenge/.

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