New year's resolution with a difference: cycle Vietnam to save lives of newborn babies
850-miles in 10 days led by round-the-world record holder, Mike Hall
by Timothy John
If you fancy making a worthwhile resolution for 2013, how about the ride of a lifetime across Vietnam to raise funds for a neo-natal unit there that could save the lives of thousands of newborn babies?
The Cycle-A-Difference ride will take place from May 14 to 27, 2013, offering 10-day journey of some 850 miles across Vietnam, which will raise vital funds for the British-registered charity, Newborns Vietnam.
It will be led by round-the-world record holder, Mike Hall, who last year cycled 200 miles-a-day to circumnavigate the globe in 91 days and 18 hours: a journey of more than 18,000 miles.
Only a few places are left on a ride that begins in Hanoi before heading south along the coastline between the border with Cambodia and the South China Sea, to its final destination, Hoi An.
Riders will be raising money that will be spent on equipment and training for nurses at Vietnam’s Da Nang Hospital for Women and Children.
The format of the ride will be familiar to riders who have tackled a multi-day sportive. Rest days, and days to acclimatize to the mountains in the highlands of north west Vietnam are included in the schedule.
Participants will ride a section of the legendary Ho Chi Minh trail, and end their ride at the Da Nang Hospital, whose efforts are supported by Newborns Vietnam founder, Suzanna Lubran, and her son, Velobrands director, Luke Humphreys.
Ms Lubran said years of experience traveling and working for charities had not prepared for “being powerless in the face of easily preventable child deaths," and had decided to act.
“It is unconscionable in the 21st century that hundreds of newborn babies die every hour, from mainly preventable causes," she added.
Mrs Lubran has led the design and development of a neonatal intensive care unit and already raised over £200,000.
Despite the success of the unit, which has been open for a year, it faces a critical shortage of nurses. Funds raised from the ride will pay for nurses to be trained at Canterbury Christ Church University, as well as to buy equipment for the unit in Vietnam.
Just 50 riders will tackle the ride, and only a few places are left. Each ride must raise or donate £3,000, which includes a deposit of £500. Cycle A Difference has committed to donating 80 per cent of the funds raised to Newborns Vietnam and hopes to make that 100 per cent.
To get involved, visit Cycle A Difference.