Look who is cycling (and why)

In the previous blog we told you about our project. This is the summary: A cycle ride between Land’s End and John O’Groats along a 1200 mile route in 13 days. The aim is to raise at least £10000 to End Polio Now. You can support us in any way you can. But we also promised to tell you more about the cyclist… here he is in his own words.

cyclingphoto

I am Daniel Barreto. Age: 35. That makes me the youngest member at the Rotary Club of Portobello in Edinburgh. My life has had many key milestones…One of them is the day I went to my first Rotary meeting as a guest about 7 years ago. It changed my life forever. I met amazing people and saw how people can make a difference in their community and also have fun while doing it. I have truly enjoyed it. I can only look forward to many more years of Rotary service.

So, why me do I hear you ask…? Have I done such a long cycle ride? No. But I have cycled since I was very young and for more than 10 years cycling has been a part of my daily commute. Currently this daily commute entails 40 km per day. And yes, of course this cycling project has been planned for a long time. More than a daily commute is required to be able to ride 1200 miles in 13 days. Training is on-going. I am battling the freezing winds and very frequent rain at the moment. Some days are pretty tough. But I am on schedule and it is going well. I hope to tell you more about the details of my training and my progression within the next 6 months. Please write me and ask me anything!

Yes, that is all fine…but why cycling? Well apart from the fact that I want to raise funds to End Polio Now, I obviously love cycling and setting challenges for myself. There is a personal reason for doing this ride as well: Nobody’s life is easy and some have it worse than others. Unfortunately for myself, I come from a family where heart problems are quite an issue. When I was 17, my father had a (first) heart attack. These things can easily change your life. Not an easy challenge, but we (my mother, my sister and I) faced it. Four years later my sister died in a tragic accident when she was only 23 years old. My parents went into a profound depression and I started to feel that my only mission was to show them that they could be proud of me and continue living. These challenges have made me strong and are a great part of what I am today. But that was not the end. My father died two years ago after a (second) heart attack. This was something we knew would happen. It was only a matter of time but that fact did not make it easier. My father’s (first) heart attack was unexpected, but also understandable. He was a smoker, who lived a very sedentary and stressful life. He was the youngest of three brothers, all of them suffered from a heart attack at the age of 42. For him it also happened at the age of 42. I have the potential to have those genes too, but I will not wait patiently until I am 42 to get a heart attack. Paraphrasing Descartes: ‘I cycle, therefore I exist!’ It would be a tragedy to miss so much of my daughter’s life who is only 3 years old at the moment.

So yes… life can be challenging, but I am considerably lucky in comparison to many people.

Whenever I get the chance to go and cycle around, I feel so lucky to be able to do this. I have my health and I am trying to keep it for as long as I can. I feel so grateful towards my community and towards Rotary for their kindness and that I can be part of such a great organisation. In a way, this is me trying to say thank you. Thank you to the world for all the good things that I have received. Now it is my time to give back. Yes, I also had many challenges…but every flower garden needs some manure to grow good flowers! End Polio Now is a worthy cause, one that I am proud to support. It is heart breaking that even in the 21st century many children still get polio, a preventable disease, which destroys the lives of those that it touches. Challenges are just a gentle reminder of how much you can help other people. This project is a tiny part of that.

So the ball is on your side now. Please follow us and support us. This is a team effort and a large project which could not be possible without the help of fellow Rotarians and my ever committed family. They are all behind me. We need you now… write me, ask me questions…get involved!

Website: http://www.portobellorotary.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/portobellorotary/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rotary_Porty (@Rotary_Porty)

For more information on the End Polio Now campaign visit: http://www.endpolio.org

For more information on Rotary International visit: http://www.rotary.org

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