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A word from our chairman

Dear friend of Distance for Difference (D4D)

Today is Tuesday, 22 September 2020. As I think back over the, approximately, 12 months since I’ve written the 2018/19 chairman’s report, a post I saw the other day comes to mind:

“I’m not buying a 2021 planner until I see the trailer first.”

Who could have guessed what was in store for all of us, this time last year? The world has been thrown into turmoil and we’ve all been struggling to adapt to what has been dubbed “The new normal”. Along the way many of us battled illness, lost loved ones, dealt with financial challenges, fought emotional battles and simply felt overwhelmed on many days. Our hearts go out to each of you who faced and are still facing one or more of these trials! The road to some level of normalcy will not be quick. I’ve been reminded how, above all, we need a personal relationship with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Simultaneously, I’ve also learned just how much we all need friends, family members and colleagues to cope with it all.

Stephan Pieterse

Stephan Pieterse

It was indeed the support of many individuals during this past year, which kept me and the rest of D4D on our feet. It all started with yet another memorable cycling event, THE500, at the NH The Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West, in October 2019. With the help of the amazing personnel from the hotel, all the wonderful D4D volunteers, a new master of ceremony namely Colin Heckroodt, who brought some youthful exuberance to the party, the energetic spinners, cyclists and all their supporters and sponsors, we managed to raise more than R600,000! (You can read more about this incredible event later on).

A mere 10 months later we received the shocking news that the NH Hotel Group did not renew their lease with the building’s owner and that the hotel was subsequently closing down, after serving the Helderberg community for 32 years! It also meant the end of an incredible relationship between D4D and the NH The Lord Charles Hotel, which started in 2013, when we hosted the first of our THE500’s at the hotel. D4D is going to miss the special people we have come to know and love and who always served us with pride and joy. Our prayer and hope is that all 150 of them will soon find alternative employment. We are also hopeful that someone else will extend their generosity to us to supply us with an alternative location to host THE500 in the future.

After a few months break at the end of 2019, we all returned and faced 2020 with renewed energy, looking forward to the year of The GRATITUDE Run! We however soon realised that 2020 will not be a normal year and that fundraising will be especially challenging! We were forced to think of alternative ways to raise funds in the form of the “Marathon Around the House” and the “15-hour Virtual Gratitude Run”. Between these two events we raised more than R170,000. This is amazing, taking into account the financial challenges so many of our supporters faced during the year!

We also had to think of an alternative way to host the GRATITUDE Run that normally takes place at the beautiful Lourensford Wine Estate. As I’m writing this, we are a month away from the virtual “The Real GRATITUDE Run”, taking place on 24 October 2020. We are hopeful that walkers and runners will join us on the day! However, we are anxiously looking forward to the day we can, once again, come together in person!

All of the above has enabled us to continue to make a difference in the lives of children in need. Our sponsors and supporters can rest assured that the funds raised were distributed wisely and responsibly, as always, and that we will continue to do so in the future. If you have not done so yet, please join our Facebook page and follow what we are up to during the year. Also visit our website, follow us on Instagram or give us a call, if you want to know more about what we do and how we do it!

To end off, as always there are so many people to thank and to prevent the risk of leaving someone out, I’ll simply say this:

“To each and everyone who made the last 12 months memorable, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are all extraordinary people and it’s been my privilege to serve, yet another year, with all of you!”

Soli Deo Gloria.

Stéphan Pieterse

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