My Story – Donne Hartley

Donne Hartley

It’s been 11 days since I arrived back from the #1965ride from Jozi to Queenstown. I haven’t posted a post about it because I honestly didn’t know where to start. If you’d told me a year ago that I was going to do the ride I would have laughed at you. After having a tough year I decided that I was going to do the ride. I did it for education and to a certain extent I did it for myself too. I will never forget my first ride with Donovan Holmes. I was useless. I persevered and got strong in the end. When we did our first 30km ride to Bailey and back I was so proud of myself. Don, you were truly a rock in my training. I feel that you invested yourself personally in my journey and your constant motivation and belief in me is something that I will carry with me forever. Thank you. The furthest ride I had done was 60kms. And I had only done that ride twice. So on day one when I’d ridden 97km, I had already broken a record.

Antony John Frost. Where do I even begin. You were a constant motivation always and throughout the ride you were always encouraging. Eventually towards the end I didn’t believe your stories about there being ‘no more hills’. The hills were the toughest part for me and once I’d acknowledged that they weren’t going anywhere my experience of the ride truly changed.

Maritha Erasmus, you were an absolute gem. We shared a room for 8 days. You were constantly encouraging me and I think I shared more with you in those 9 days than I have with many people in my life. Thank you.

Andile Jonas. Buddy. What a privilege it was to get to know you and to constantly have each others back. You dealt with me breaking down in Bethlehem and truly understood the essence of why I was doing this.

It is tough to express to the world how incredible all 11 of the people involved in the cycle were. The support team were amazing. Mark Berger, you gave yourself so selflessly on the ride. Even when I fell your policy of ‘hug now, treat later’ just showed how incredible you were. You are a gem. Matt O’Carroll, your calmness and kindness is just too difficult to put into words. Duncan, for your sense of humor and constant encouragement Thank you. Our incredible, Mo and Katiso, Ian and Pam were so encouraging and kind as well. This ride would not have been the same without them.

One thing that I did learn on this ride was to love your fan club. Bridget Hartley, Mom. Constantly knowing how proud you were of me and how much you loved me gave me an incredible amount of courage and strength to keep going. My special sisters Robyn Thomson, Megan Hartley and Candice Lategan. Your support and love is indescribable. Who would have thought that your baby sister would do something like this. Thank you for always loving me and supporting me.

Liesel Redman Campher my special friend. You supported other people (as well as me) throughout the ride. You did a lot for me at school while I was gone and constantly supported me throughout the year when I truly thought I wasn’t going to make it. Whenever the phrase ‘I’m overwhelmed’ came up you constantly reminded me that I could. Thank you. Louise Featherstone Charasika I cannot thank you enough for holding fort in the areas at school that I was Involved in. You never begrudged me for being gone and you thought of me constantly. Thank you. Jill Osborn Haxton, my school Mom. I knew that my classes were in good hands with you and I’m so grateful that you were prepared to teach them. If you weren’t able to cover for me, I would not have been able to do the ride. Juan van der Merwe, thank you for being willing to teach my creative arts while I was gone. It was really comforting to know that all of my classes were in capable hands.

Lungisani Dube, my love. I don’t think you know just how much your constant love and support meant to me. You were my rock and strength throughout the ride and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you. I know that me being gone for 9 days was tough for you and I cannot thank you enough for being there for me.

Thank you to my special friends for the constant love and support and encouragement. You all made a difference to the ride in so many ways. Kululwa Kush Malotana, Keyla Losa, Pakamani Nelson Ndwandwa, Tyler Stellenberg , Margolet Wege Simon Reece Brill, Tegan Barraud ,Richard Fietze Grant Hartley, Tamlyn Hartley, Gareth Hartley.

Most of my sponsorship came from my special family and it is because of them that I could do it. Cathrine McGovern Hartley and a Uncle V, Sharon Davie Cloete , Uncle Andrew and Aunty Des. Thank you for your generous sponsorship and for your constant love for my family.

This ride changed my life. I am a new person. I did it for Queen’s College, education and my community.
“With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity”

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