Words: Caroline Hillary Pictures: Joanne Olivier
Altruistic ventures are a reason to get excited. Not just because the concept of ‘paying it forward’ is a legitimate way of living, but the inspiration they evoke in us is often enough to get us off the couch and do something ourselves.
Kevin Grenfell – well-known Joburg music exec, ex-deejay, mountain biker and dad, at 42, is taking on the most altruistic adventure of his life in April – and he’s not afraid to admit it scares the crap out of him.
Kevin, sponsored by Old Mutual, will be riding 900kms on mountain bike in the Joberg2C race, in order to raise funds and awareness for the silent killer Tuberculosis, a disease that does not choose its victims by colour, creed or culture.
Kevin lost his beloved mother to TB almost a year ago to the week. A regular Joburg Northern suburbs mom, the doctors are still completely unaware where she picked up this airborne respiratory virus. In South Africa we still have some of the highest numbers of TB-related deaths in the world, yet the shock that it reached a seemingly untouchable part of the countries demographic was still apparent, and it’s this reason, more than anything that Kevin is taking on the challenge – to remove the conventional ‘it couldn’t happen to me’ delusion that most of us, black or white, in urban areas, still hold so fast onto.
The race, which will see Kevin cycling from Heidelburg to Scottburgh in KZN is a gruelling 900km-strong physical endeavour that most people wouldn’t dream of putting themselves through. He started his training in November 2016 , before he had even sealed his sponsorship, but he had no doubt he would be riding this race and he used his mom’s death as a driving force throughout the tougher moments – a focus that he says he will be using during the race itself.
“My mom is the inspiration for this and the pressure to complete the race feels more like motivation when I think about why I’m doing this. There is no option of backing out. After my mom died, I felt this overwhelming feeling of numbness and for me, this race is a way for me to move past that and get the closure I feel I need about the whole incident, at the same time raising funds for others who are going through the same thing.”
The good news is though, apart from his 3 children, riding is his primary love, so it made perfect sense to use something he was so passionate about in order to make a difference. He has been putting himself through extensive daily training using traditional methods such as riding 100kms per day on his own mountain bike, as well as extensive Watt Bike Training. Kevin also uses yoga for strength – and perhaps a little down time.
In terms of the race itself, he will not be riding with a team and aims to just pour his focus into the job at hand. He is admittedly very nervous as he has never ridden 9 days straight before and the distance he feels is something that will certainly keep his “ego in check.” There is no doubt that with the overwhelming passion he feels about the difference his contribution can make will keep him pushing to the very end. All his proceeds will go to the TB charity OneVoice.
We don’t even need to get off the couch for this one – click on the link below and pledge anything – big or small, to contribute towards medicines, food, maintenance and many other areas that OneVoice could use assistance with – and then share this article on Facebook and other social platforms. Keep it moving forward and do your bit for TB research and eradication in South Africa.
In order to make donations easy, Old Mutual has the More Than Yourself fundraising initiative where donors can pledge:
Find out more about the OneVoice TB charity:
Find out more about the Joberg2C race on: