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Cycling dream comes true for ill boy

The Reach For A Dream Foundation gifted Ayabonga Shabalala with a brand new bicycle for his birthday. He was born with a defective heart.

AYABONGA Shabalala’s dream of owning a bicycle was realised recently by a foundation that makes dreams come true for children with life-threatening illnesses.

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Ayabonga was born with a defective heart and has had surgery to try to correct it to ensure that he lives as close to a normal life as possible. His mother, Phumzile, said this has made Ayabonga very happy, and he enjoys the thrill and freedom of riding everywhere he likes. Phumzile said it became possible after the Reach For A Dream Foundation reached out to her.

“They asked Ayabonga what gift he would like for his birthday, and a bicycle was one of the three things he named. We met up at Galleria Mall, and they took him to a shop that sells cycles, and he picked one that he liked,” said Phumzile.

Reach For A Dream Foundation’s head of marketing and communications, Birgit Deibele, said since its inception in 1988, the foundation has turned more than 27 670 dreams into reality.

“These dreams, ranging from meeting personal heroes to experiencing new things for the first time, provide the children with a temporary escape from their illness and a much-needed distraction from often painful medical treatments. Most importantly, fulfilled dreams inspire hope, giving these children a reason to believe that tomorrow is worth fighting for,” said Deibele.

The foundation raises funds to fulfil dreams through its Slipper Day initiative, which is held on May 31.

“Since its inauguration in 2011, Slipper Day has become a nationwide movement where everyone from office workers to school children band together to make dreams come true for children with critical diseases like cancer, renal failure, and heart conditions, simply by buying a R20 sticker and wearing it with their slippers on the day,” said Deibele.

Stickers can be purchased from Wimpy, Pick n Pay, Dis-Chem Pharmacies, Dis-Chem Baby City, Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Krispy Kreme and HushPuppies.co.za. Those who want to buy their stickers and a pair of funky slippers or socks online can click through to the Reach For A Dream website. This year, Zapper has come on board to make it as easy as possible for people to pay for their virtual Slipper Day stickers by simply scanning a Zapper QR code. If you wear your sticker and slippers to Wimpy on May 31, you can get a free Famous Coffee or hot chocolate for children under 12.

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