Cape Town entrepreneur, Dan Meyer raised R127 000 for Operation Smile South Africa by cycling a total of 3 500km across Europe. The initiative was called “Smile Cycle” with the goal to raise funds and awareness for Operation Smile, South Africa.
Operation Smile is a non-profit organization helping the lives of underprivileged children born with Cleft Palates by getting them the surgery they need.
Meyer returned to Cape Town on 18 August after completing the journey which began in Copenhagen, Denmark on 8 July and ended in Rome, Italy on 13 August, cycling a total of 109km every day.
Cycling through eight countries over the span of 35 days is not an easy feat and although Meyer trained for six months leading up to his journey, he felt the strain and pain of cycling 10 to 12 hours a day.
“I was doing more distance than the Cape Town Cycle Tour every day, seven days a week. When I got to Switzerland and started riding the uphills of the Alps, there was a heatwave of over 40°C, I thought I was going to die,” Meyer said.
Meyer added, “Other than the hard work the trip was lots of fun, and a huge adventure. Trying to figure out where to sleep, how far to ride, what towns to stop in, and how to keep everything charged. It was a huge challenge but also really exciting.”
The funds raised by the Smile Cycle will be used to fund a surgical programme for 30 children awaiting surgery in Mthatha, Eastern Cape.
Operation Smile South Africa executive director Sarah Scarth said, “At Operation Smile we are finalising the details for a weekend surgical programme in October, which will provide life-changing surgery for these children and the funds raised through Dan’s Smile Cycle will support this programme – ie flights, transportation, meals for our medical volunteers; medical cargo (equipment and consumables); etc,”
The are an estimated 1 000 children that are currently awaiting palate repair surgery in South Africa.
Picture: Operation Smile South Africa / Facebook