What really matters?

In News

In 36 days time Unogwaja Challenge 2013 gets underway, and I think it would be fair to say things are a little manic at the moment. It feels like there are a few too many balls up in the air all of which I can ill afford to drop. During these times, we can quickly find ourselves (sometimes understandably) totally consumed in what we are doing and feeling as though “the fate of the free world rests on our shoulders”. (I’m pretty sure I got that line from a film. Does anyone know which one? I tried to google it now but couldn’t find anything at a glance) Sometimes life throws something at us that stops us flat in our tracks regardless of what is going on in your world.

Two such things in the space of one week did exactly that to me.

Junior Mavuso.

Sitting on my left in the photo below. I met him on arrival in Pietermaritzburg during Unogwaja 2012. (see video from this day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8LrYo9C7vE ) He and Omar (sitting on my right), both were people who benefitted from Unogwaja 2012 via Jumping Kids. It was one of the most memorable and significant parts of Unogwaja connecting with these two guys. And ever since I have stayed in “loose” contact with Junior who I vividly remember having such an awesome spark especially when we spoke about girls! (I reckon we shared that spark!!)

I chatted with him from time to time on Facebook until one day this week I decided to drop in on his Facebook wall. I wrote him a message to ask him what he has been up to and what was his news. After writing it, I thought why don’t I just take a look myself.

This is what I saw.


I can’t explain this. I mean he is not my kid, my brother, I hardly even know him but for whatever reason Junior Mavuso filled me with all sorts of passion, energy, determination, inspiration. I am getting goosebumps even now as I write this. It did not matter that he had won gold in long jump, javelin and 100m including a new National record for the long jump in his age group and category. What mattered to me, and what these pictures told me was “I’m following my heart”. I can’t stop looking at the image of Junior (look how much he has grown up since we met!) in full flight. Junior running his heart out. And it seems ever since Unogwaja 2012, he has been doing so in his red sock, his shoOops! And what makes it even more special for me is the way that I had to find out about it. Junior never mentioned this to me, he just quietly went about his thing. No big deal, no fanfare, just outward grace and inner determination.
Thank you Junior. You have stopped me in my tracks, you have made me realise that a lot of the stuff I worry about doesn’t really matter after all, you have inspired me more than you will ever know. I cannot wait to see you again and more socks are on their way to you. (But I will understand if your one is your lucky one and new socks just don’t cut it!)

The 2nd time I was stopped in my tracks this week was late on Monday night receiving news that our friend Lettie (click here for the previous blog about Lettie Run) had received news that the breast cancer she had fought off in a long and hard battle last year was back, and back with a vengeance. Reading an email from Zoog (Lettie’s husband) to close friends and family about the news was probably the most sobering email I can remember receiving. Suddenly “the fate of the free world” seemed safe regardless of what I did or didn’t do, and life delivered a chilling reminder that most of the “stuff” we get our knickers in a twist about doesn’t really matter at all.
This is Zoog, Lettie, Brundle and I (fallen asleep in the car post Lettie Run) the last time we were together. It says it all.

To say that in my eyes these two (Zoog & Lettie) are special people and a special couple would be an understatement. In a relatively short space of time these two have shown me (and not just me) so much about dignity, and laughter, and love, and teamwork and friendship, and just being able to endure more together and with a smile and compassion for those around them even in tough circumstances.

So in Lettie Style, the only way Lettie would have it, we decided to get up early the next morning, pull up our red socks and put on our red Etana Testicular Cancer speedos and get out there and face the music “together” on a cold grey Cape Town day. Our small way of rallying behind Lettie, Zoog, Ty, Lia and Slater and letting them know we are together in spirit and together in giving our all towards what is truly important and valuable in life. Thank you for showing us that there is always time for a smile and a joke, and to make someone else’s day, no matter what cards you have been dealt.

In the word’s of Zoog, which I have asked if I could share:
“This is going to be a difficult mail to digest but if you do anything with this incredibly shit news then turn the heartache into positive meaningful action – tell someone how much you love them, appreciate your health, vitality & mobility, get up and make a difference,  respect anothers opinion, have the courage to resolve a difference, be kind…”

Sending the Haynes family all the love in the world. Even people who have never met you have been touched by your story and your life. Sending love to Pennington, Kwa Zulu Natal! It is here in abundance for you because of all the love that you give and show us how to give.

Brundle and I in the traffic; apparently there were reports on the radio of two “naked” cyclists in the CBD! Hardly naked!! Somewhat overdressed!

Brundle had to put it on his back because he is so hairy! At least he had an extra layer on to keep him warm!

We escorted Brundle’s dad Stan (Stan was part of the support crew alongside Lettie for Lettie Run) to work in town plus my new housemate Ilana got involved immediately when we told her about Lettie. She donned her shoOops for the first time.

After Stan and Ilana went to work, Brundle and I somehow ended up in various offices around the CBD and on our way home causing quite a stir. We even tried the Red Bull office BMX time trial. Brundle beat me after I took a fall on the 2nd last corner. Here we are with MD of John Brown Media, Lani Carstens. Neither of us knew anyone in this office or even what or who this John Brown fella was or is but Brundle wanted to go in. They have asked us to come back next week Friday in our red socks and tell them our story, and they are buying red socks for all their staff. (part of the proceeds will go to Pink Drive) We only discovered this photo on FB after my cousin tagged me in it as one of her mutual friends works at this office and posted the photo and this comment:

“Office life! Random visit from two guys raising awareness about cancer for their friend’s wife #HumanSpirit”

One of the many comments underneath it was from this lady called Nicky Sharpe who said she would donate £20 for a lunch date!

So she did! I owe her a lunch date and now Pink Drive have another R200 towards their cause to help more ladies like Lettie. Thank you so much Nicky.


Plus one of my favourite comments on another photo that surfaced on Facebook from another random lady:

“These guys were at our business park too!”

Hahahah Classic. Thank you Lettie

Anyone care for a visit from me and the Brundle? Do let us know via twitter @johnmcinroy @robert_lebrun13 we will arrive on our bikes, in our red socks and red speedos. Don’t expect much though, it is frikkin cold at the moment!! 😉

Leave a Comment