Image Credit: Olga Zolotova

Dubai

When I was a child I remember waiting every year for Christmas morning to find my presents under the tree. It was always so magical for me. Only when I grew up did I realise that my parents were the ones who made it magical and unforgettable every time. But, there are some children in the world who do not get to live this magic because they don’t have families. So, I decided it was time to change things.

Every child deserves happiness and I decided it was my turn to share the joy of Christmas. I wanted to dedicate myself to a charity campaign with the help of UAE Red Crescent and Adventure HQ. My friend Mohammad Khalaf and I plan to collect toys and distribute them among the orphans in the UAE on Christmas and New Year’s eve.

In order to raise awareness about this cause, we will cycle across the Liwa Desert, more than 200 kilometres in 24 hours between December 23 to 24. We will be using special desert bikes. We are planning to cycle in a way that our track will draw a gift box. We will be using a navigation system together with a cycling application for this.

The toys that will be collected will be handed over to the UAE Red Crescent and they will distribute them amongst orphans around the country. Donation boxes will be established in AdventureHQ stores in Times Square and Galleria Mall in Dubai from December 7 to December 21. Anyone can pass by and donate old or unwanted toys during those days. This idea is very challenging. The entire event needs a lot of preparation. The UAE Red Crescent is helping us with the permissions and we are dedicating a lot of time to our training.

There are three main elements to consider before attempting desert cycling: physical training, logistics, navigational skills and proper professional equipment. Liwa desert is famous for its challenging landscape — dunes can reach up to 400 metres. We will have to follow the correct path without any deviations. The only way to prepare for that is to practice “drawing” in a desert on a smaller scale. You cannot skip normal endurance practices — run, cycle, gym.

When I say charity challenge it is not just about cycling or running or any other physical activity. It also is not just a charity or fundraising. It is all about how to combine sport and a social cause and team work.

I think there are two main reasons why we are doing this. Firstly, I love challenges in general, and I see it as a way to develop yourself — whether it is career, study or sport. Secondly, I generally believe in giving back to society. So why not combine those two things together? Sport and a healthy way of life can become beneficial, not only on a personal level, but also to contribute to society. If you can do something to attract attention, why not dedicate it to matters that deserve attention? I cannot help everyone, but we can some people. If anyone wants to know more about the charity, the challenge or how to donate please contact me on olga.inspired@gmail.com.

— The reader is a sports enthusiast based in Dubai.

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