Seven days and just more than 5,000 kilometres later, the 2019 Seven7 Drive concluded on Wednesday, 5 June 2019, ending its journey with a visit to the paediatric oncology unit of the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in the City of Tshwane.
The visit, which included a delivery of toys and cupcakes to the ward’s 38 patients, signified the end of the team’s mission to spread love, hope and kindness while raising awareness about childhood cancer.
Driving a KIA Grand Sedona EX+, the seven day journey included stopovers at hospitals in Polokwane, Upington, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Bethlehem, Nelspruit, Lydenburg and, finally, Pretoria.
“This year’s Seven7 Drive was probably the easiest and most comfortable one we’ve ever done,” says Danie Botha, one of the Seven7 Drive founders and expedition leader since the drive’s inception in 2015. “It was pretty easy because we only stuck to South Africa this time, so we didn’t have to contend with border crossings, elephants on the road as we’ve encountered in Botswana, roads that no longer exist or police officers looking for a quick buck. And comfortable because the KIA Grand Sedona not only returned an average consumption of 8.6 litres/100km, but also proved very comfortable on any road surface. And we did encounter some really rough patches and some gravel roads along the way.”
This year’s drive comprised not only Danie Botha, but also Reuben van Niekerk, editor of the popular Leisure Wheels magazine, who joined for the entire journey. Several KIA Motors dealerships also acted as stopover points, and contributed to the journey by collecting toys for the various hospitals, and selling cupcakes in aid of the Drive’s beneficiary, Cupcakes of Hope (www.cupcakesofhope.org). With the aim to raise awareness of the early warning signs of childhood cancer, and funds for families in need medical assistance, the organisation uses the humble cupcake as a means to spread hope, love and kindness.
“Most importantly, we managed to raise more awareness about Seven7 Drive and Cupcakes of Hope,” Danie continues. “Cancer is obviously a bad thing, no matter who, what or where the patient may be. But when you see a five-month old baby fighting cancer, or a 10-year old who can’t speak or really move anymore… those are the kids we aim to assist in some way, even if it’s just by offering a small gift that can relieve their pain for a short while.”
And the visits – and toys – really do make a difference. “The children were delighted with their toys,” said Robert Were, the Cansa TLC Coordinator in Polokwane, following the Seven7 Drive visit to the paediatric oncology ward of the Polokwane Hospital. “Your act of kindness helped change the minds of many of our little ones by having the ability to concentrate on something else for a while. The fact that the mothers could also see that they are not alone in their stresses, but that other people do take time out to invest in their children’s lives, goes a long way too.”
The 2019 Seven7 Drive was again supported by KIA Motors South Africa and Tracker, with additional assistance and support provided by airbnb and Wrap Vehicles.