Community spotlight: racing hearts for Heart Matters

This weekend, the Rhodes University Indoor Cycling team hosted their annual Cyclathon at the RU Health Suite. The event took place on Saturday, with 12 spinning classes, to raise funds for Heart Matters Pregnancy Care Centre.

13177357_1104974959565802_887976637345029361_n“No matter who you are, every heart matters,” said Marion Penney, centre director of Heart Matters at their talk last Thursday. This non-profit organisation, founded in Grahamstown in 2016, is open to all community members, be they university students, high school learners, or families in crisis. The organisation provides options for people dealing with unplanned or crisis pregnancies, stressing that they help not only pregnant women, but their partners and families too, guiding them through all the possible choices that they can make. 

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Rugunda (left) and Penney (right) enjoy a break in the sunshine during the successes of the day. [Credit: Guinevere Shapiro]

“I realised that we had a platform to help raise awareness for something that has been stigmatised,” said cycling manager, instructor, and third-year student, Marjorie Rugunda. “Unplanned pregnancies and illegal abortions are not just a women’s issue but a national issue, and the Cyclathon was a great way to raise funds for this more than worthy cause.”

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Grahamstown community members enjoy the 9am cycling session. [Credit: Guinevere Shapiro]

Students as well as Grahamstown community members, schoolchildren, and local sponsors, took part in the Cyclathon, for a fee of R30 per class. The Cyclathon also received donations from companies in Mauritius, who contributed R3100. Each class had a special theme, some featuring guest DJs to maintain the motivation as the day progressed. Some participants took it to the next level, partaking in several hours of spinning. Spinning instructor and third year student Ashleigh Redman, as well as renowned Grahamstown triathlete Terri-Lynn Penney, completed all 12 spinning classes of the day.

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Instructor Jess Bouwer leads the final spin class of the evening with DJ Justin Brill. [Credit: Guinevere Shapiro]

The Cyclathon raised R10,328 – a great success for the team and for Heart Matters, and based on the turnout, the event will likely return with a bang in 2018.

Header image: Guinevere Shapiro

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