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Gambia-Sand to sea for Chain of Hope to start cyclist exercise

Jan 20, 2014, 8:06 PM | Article By: Njie Baldeh

On 25 and 26 January 2014, a team of 12 cyclists based in The Gambia, together with friends and colleagues from the UK and USA, will attempt to cycle most of the length of the country from East to West covering 370 km in just two days.

The aim of the exercise is to raise money for the Chain of Hope Charity, which exists to provide children suffering from life-threatening heart diseases with corrective surgery and treatment that would not otherwise be available to them.

Speaking in an interview with The Point on Wednesday at The Point offices, Terry Bishop said the exercise will be done in three ways, by sending out medical teams to treat children in their own countries, setting up training programmes for local surgeons and medical staff and by sending children abroad for corrective surgery.

According to Terry Bishop, the Chain of Hope has been working in The Gambia since 2007, providing cardiac surgery for Gambian children in Europe and Aswan, Egypt.

So far they have provided corrective heart surgery for more than 30 children from the clinics at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital and the MRC in Fajara.

This represents only a small fraction of all those in need, but the lives of the lucky ones and their families have been transformed by the charity’s work.

He went further to say Chain of Hope also helps by providing funds to enable Gambian children to travel to Dakar in Senegal for an ECHO cardiograph, a detailed scan of the heart that determines the specific problem and severity, as well as funding blood clotting test for those who have had surgery and replacement of heart valves and visa costs for children and their guardians traveling for surgery.

All money raised will go to the charity. The riders and organizers are covering their own costs.

The plan is to ride from Basse to Fajara with a one-night stop at Soma, which will mean two long days in the saddle.

Day one will cover 195 km from Basse to Soma and day 2 will cover 175 km from Soma to Fajara at an average speed of between 20 and 25 km per hour.

This, he added, means the riders will be on their bikes for nearly 9 hours on the first day and 8 hours on the second.