Monday, April 4, 2016


April is here and just going on three months to launch and take on the might of the Freedom Challenge race across South Africa!

My training has gone on and well even in respect of a few interruptions though. I am eleven days away from another race to take place and unfinished business. A daunting single stage race covering 360km in under thirty six hours!

To date, with 60% increase in miles, 81% increase and focus on ascent, 54% increase in time in the saddle, 118% increase in calorie burn and effort and a 10% loss in body weight, I feel I have done what I needed to up to now compared to my preparation in 2015.
This race will be used as part of my training for the big one in June!

I have been blessed in the month of March with having seen, been and experienced as well as surrounded myself with positive people. As much as I have improved on my physical well being, I still believe I have some work to do on my mental fitness.

We can so often, as I may say again, give ourselves less credit than we believe is worthy. One needs to take a moment and take stock of where you’re at, where you’ve come from and where you wish to go. Maybe last year happened for a reason and this year is a new season where one needs to go forth using experience and logic.

I am urging all that may come in contact or read this page to share it. I am hearing impaired but this story is not about me. Sure! I am tackling something bigger than most will do in their lives, yet in taking on the Freedom Challenge race across South Africa is nothing compared to the deaf and hearing impaired children at the Carel du Toit Centre in Cape Town that are tackling something bigger in that they are trying to learn and find their place in the world with early intervention relating to their impairments. My aim is to help them along with your help.

Knowing that I am doing the Freedom Challenge race across South Africa and attempting to raise funds for the Carel du Toit Centre in Cape Town, I have been approached by people, some who have known me for some time, expressing their surprise, unawareness and sometimes shock to hear that I am hearing impaired from birth. In having already engaged in some personal mails to some of my interested and concerned friends about the matter, I decided to share this via my blog. It is something I shared two years ago.

With a hearty laugh, I called it: “coming out the deaf closet”. 

As some may know or not know (in my blog & FB page) my deafness, from birth has been a long journey. In adulthood there is a lot more acceptance as well as living in a modern world than what there was years ago. 

Hence, as a bad habit, I have always kept my deafness low key for personal reasons due to subjection and sometimes enduring negative stigma for a number of years of my life, mainly my youth. However, sadly there is still stigma attached to deafness which the younger generation sometimes has to endure still. Lack of education, awareness and understanding are the key reasons for such stigmas.

Being hearing impaired is challenging BUT because over the years I project an ability and awareness of extreme coping skills, which I developed and survived on, like lip reading, body language recognition, reading situational cues, intellectual intelligence and 6th sense, I almost project "normality". Even audiologists are dumbfounded when after doing hearing tests, documenting & realizing the extreme level of impairment I have, how it is that I interact and cope so well. Maybe because I have dealt with it for so long in my own way I see no big deal in it. I am by no means a social butterfly, rather quiet and reserved which are traits sometimes becoming of a deaf person. My speech has been and is affected but not as badly as most people with letters (s, th & r ) which are some of the common denominators in speech and result of being deaf. 

To best define my hearing loss to others it is termed sensorineural hearing loss. It occurs when there is damage to the auditory nerve that runs from the inner ears to the brain. Those affected by this form of hearing loss experience among many other things, some sounds that seem too loud, difficulty following conversations when two or more people are talking and difficulty hearing in noisy areas. It is easier to hear men's voices than women's voices. It is hard to tell high-pitched sounds (such as "s" or "th") from one another. Other people's voices can sound mumbled or slurred. There is also difficulty hearing when there is background noise.

My hearing range is fair in the category of low range sounds and where there is more bass than high notes. However, higher sound ranges are the problem. Sounds like a flute or high key notes on a piano keyboard are way out of my range of hearing. To hear properly you require the ability to hear both sound ranges equally. 

By my own choice and after evading technological intervention for 30 years I now don hearing aids with mind blowing technology features and of which was a very moving experience when I fitted them and switched on for the first time on 13 October 2012. There was a mammoth difference experienced to what I had had from a hearing aid use from 5 years to 12 years of age. I am however bad when it comes to using them continuously because of the extreme noise factor one experiences after being use to a world of much “quieter" surroundings for so many years. It is something that needs work on.

I opted to try and help the Carel du Toit Centre in Cape Town, a school for deaf and hearing impaired children because I know what these kids are going through and will go through. My first visit to them at a satellite branch in East London in August 2013 had me holding back some of my emotions. The Centre receives no real assistance if any from government. Being an NPO, (Non-profit organization) they do a lot of their own fundraising as well to try and help fund their school and the work they do. We are living in a modern and expensive world and these kids, some previously disadvantage, need a better shot at life but the funding is not always there. My aim is to help but also with the help of others that may be better off to help make that difference. It is going along slowly and I so wish for a big sponsor to come on board. 

(or personal message me for other ways you can make a secure donation)

I have been asked a few times by obviously concerned people why I am doing The Freedom Challenge race across South Africa. My reply is very simple...

I am doing the Freedom Challenge because it has been a dream. It is an opportunity to transverse part of our country very few will have the privilege of doing. It is an opportunity to revel in and experience another side of humanity that many speak about but few experience. Confronting extreme terrain and adverse weather conditions, it is an opportunity to dig deep into my character and push the boundaries of the human spirit and how far we can go and how much we can endure – handicap or no handicap. It is an opportunity to write my own story and define a little of my own history. At the same time it includes all those that have been part of and will be part of this incredible journey that I am about to embark on and for that I am grateful.

Life is a journey and we need to enjoy the ride…..

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