250 registered cyclists rode the streets of Jo’burg this year in their pink and black Paige Project outfits. These exceptional people have become quite a common site at the Momentum 947 Cycle Challenge and it’s all for a good cause…
The Paige Project was started officially in 2009 by David Barson, initially to raise funds to purchase an orthopaedic wheelchair for his niece Paige Barson in 2007, who was born with Cerebral Palsy. Due to the success of this event as well as raising funds to build a new computer lab the following year at New Hope School, it was decided to make the project permanent in order to raise funds for children with similar conditions as well as to educate caregivers and give them the necessary tools needed to care for such children.
Says David Barson, Chairman of The Paige Project: “We have started a new programme to get 50 children in 50 seats (wheelchairs). Many of the kids we deal with are in serious need of new wheelchairs or an upgrade to their existing ones. We needed to raise about R250 000 to make this possible, so what we have achieved with the 947 this year goes a long way towards this.”
Those who benefit the most from the efforts of the Paige Project are underprivileged children with Cerebral Palsy, who don’t have access to proper care, therapy or equipment. The programme is run in partnership with Shonaquip who source the children and arrange for assessments and fittings to be done.
This year’s race included the sponsorship of ADDaBIT. ADDaBIT provided an excellent fundraising app that helped raise an additional R50, 000 through the cyclists. Says David: “This really was a fantastic addition to an already successful fundraising event. We hope to have a continued relationship with ADDaBIT as well as finding new sponsors for next year’s race.
Other initiatives developed by The Paige Project to date include; The Paige Barson Centre for Cerebral Palsy Children, which is a dedicated centre at the Tambo Memorial Hospital, Benoni, an initiative for Cerebral Palsy children and their caregivers, as well as Malamulele Onward, an initiative for accessing children in rural areas who have not received efficient equipment or care from government and assisting children and their care givers with equipment and training.
About Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy is caused by damage or abnormal development to the parts of the brain that control movement, balance and posture. Often children with cerebral palsy will have difficulty with vision, sensations, hearing, speaking and swallowing. They often also suffer from muscle spasticity, muscle weakness, tremors and poor coordination. Although cerebral palsy cannot be cured, early intervention and adequate physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy as well as the correct equipment and medication can allow for a dramatic improvement in the child’s quality of life and own unique potential.