Pink and blue buntings zig-zagged across the street while the crowd cheered for the 300 women cyclists who participated in the Hope on the Wheels cycle rally, an initiative by Delhi NCR Fellowship for Cycling, RID 3011, a part of RI’s Fellowship for Cycling to Serve. The event was organised in association with the Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre (RGCIRC) and Delhi Wheels, a cyclists’ club, to create cancer awareness.
Starting at RGCIRC, the 20km rally travelled through Delhi’s quintessential landmarks, and stopped at two camps where over 100 underprivileged women were screened for breast cancer.
DG Ashok Kantoor dedicated the rally to RI President Jennifer Jones, calling her an “inspiration for every woman battling cancer. This rally not only supports our cause to create awareness but also helps us spread the message that timely detection, screening and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of cancer.”
Three medical teams headed by the director of RGCIRC Dr Gouri Kapoor taught the women cyclists to self-screen for certain cancers. She urged them “to seek professional help as early as possible in case of any symptoms or concerns. Early detection helps in identifying cancer while it is curable, preventing mortality and reducing morbidity and treatment cost.”
Narinder Kumar Lamba, the fellowship’s president, explains, “every year there’s a community component, and the Delhi NCR Fellowship for Cycling partners with various organisations to support a cause. It inspires us to do more and helps us look forward to the next year’s event.” Last year the Ride to End Polio rally raised $10,000.
“The objective of our Fellowship is to develop and promote worldwide friendship through cycling competitively and recreationally. We could choose a cause that serves our community locally or globally. You might not be a cyclist or it may not be your favourite sport but seeing people out there on cycles creates a buzz and people are curious to find out what is going on,” he adds.
Sixty-six-year-old participant Rajni Tacker, a member of RC Delhi South East, RID 3011, says that she is “addicted to cycling.” She started cycling when she was eight and to her, this rally is a way of “inspiring women and girls to take care of themselves” She completed the rally in 90 minutes but “I wasn’t feeling tired. It was fun. Other cyclists said to me ‘Rajniji we want to be as fit as you when we are your age.’”
Rotary, she says, “recognises the fact that common interests help form special bonds of friendship and opens additional opportunities for Rotarians. I have found a new family in Rotary. I feel heard and respected which is the only thing that matters at my age.”
All cyclists were provided with pink jackets sporting the Rotary, Cycling Fellowship and RGCIRC logos on the back. “This also worked as a public image exercise,” says Lamba.