What would inspire a medical doctor who cares for terminally ill cancer patients, and a cancer survivor to ride from London to Paris with 400 cyclists, riding 105 miles daily for three days in order to raise money for charity? You would literally have to spend a week with Dr Jacqueline Pereira Sabga, and the charismatic Cherise Stauble going through their paces in training in order to understand the discipline and determination of these women.
Dr Sabga, a general practitioner, chairman and medical director of Vitas House Hospice, and Cherise, a retired clinical psychologist both consider themselves ordinary women doing extraordinary things. In 2014, these women along with five other mothers, sisters and wives ranging from ages 35 to 52 forged a sisterhood of unexpected friendship known as ‘Team Bucketlisters’. Their single goal was to successfully complete a half marathon together.
What subsequently emerged from this group with no prior experience in endurance sport is so impressive, that it can inspire anyone. They have competed in a number of endurance events including the Miami and Boston Marathons, and Olympic distance triathlons. In 2016, with a team from Trinidad and Tobago known as the ‘Augusta 6’ they successfully completed their first Ironman 70.3 which consists of a 1,900 metre swim, 90 kilometre ride and finishes with a half marathon.
These accomplishments gave Dr Sabga and Cherise the impetus to seek a new challenge unlike any they had previously undertaken. Cycling has become a passion for them and a chance conversation led to a decision to sign up with a European company that organises challenging cycling tours with one unique condition – each participant must identify and raise money for charity!
Almost a year ago, they set a target to raise TT$100,000 for two local charities close to their hearts: The Just Because Foundation, and the Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society (TTCS). They silently wondered whether they could enlist the support of corporate Trinidad and Tobago for their initiative ‘Side by Side, Riding for a Cause’.
On July 13, one week before they set off on their epic ride, the dynamic duo delivered two cheques totalling TT$160,000 to their charities. It was a humbling occasion, according to Cherise, “besides the nervous excitement of the cycling ride, we are extremely proud that we were able to surpass the contribution target”.
Chevaughn and Noel Joseph, co-founders of The Just Because Foundation, received the cheque for TT$80,000 with gratitude and excitement as the organisation celebrates its tenth anniversary on August 2, which would have been their son Jabez Joseph’s sixteenth birthday. They both acknowledged that financial support of this nature allows continuity for their NGO dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with cancer and their families.
And speaking on behalf of the TTCS, Kevin Cox, General Manager Ag, confirmed that the donation will go towards the development of the organisation’s colonoscopy programme, providing training, certification and accreditation in the fight against cancer.
For more information, visit Facebook:| Side By Side – London to Paris Ride for Charity
Jamila Gamero is a triathlete and former professional footballer for Sevilla FC women’s Club in Spain. She is the mother of two boys, Tishad and Akim, and the founder of the Mariama Foundation, a registered non-profit organisation raising the storytelling bar for the Caribbean’s female athletes.