The event was presented by trustees and founders, Garth Wright and Gary Stephenson - directors at Wright Surveillance. It was attended by among others trustee, Thuli Mtila, Carmen Sporke from title sponsor KFC, Algoa FM DJ and Sport Elizabeth editor Daron Mann, Spec-Savers Ironman South Africa title sponsor, Spec-Savers CEO Bryan Dowley and representatives from some of the beneficiaries.
The charity, which was founded in 2005 by Ex-Springbok scrumhalf Garth Wright and his business partner Gary Stephenson, has continued to push the boundaries in their attempt to aid less fortunate children in the Eastern Cape region. This year the charity managed to exceed their target of R1.5 million in a combined effort from corporate sponsorship at the Spec-Savers Ironman South Africa, the Spec-Savers Ironman 70.3 South Africa, the Vodacom Track an Athlete service and direct donations from athletes and the public.
Speaking at the presentation, Wright highlighted the four initiatives involved. These being the corporate sponsorship of athletes, the Springboks Cooking for Charity event, the Drive for Tri initiative driven by French athlete, Nicolas Gracco de Lay and the Virgin Active – Sport Elizabeth sports equipment collection drive.
Wright said: “The key is the children. They are the diamonds that need to be polished. We want to give them love, care but most importantly hope. One of the main reasons we started this initiative is to give the children hope.”
“We chose Ironman because Ironman is tough. Ironman athletes are hard working, dedicated, successful people and we want the kids to identify with them and the Ironman mantra that “Anything is Possible.”
No fewer than 65 athletes competed under the banner of the KFC Ironman 4 the Kidz at this year’s Spec-Savers Ironman South Africa, the toughest in the event’s history. The athletes were sponsored by 40 corporate sponsors who saw fit to generously give back to the community through sport. Together with the athletes who competed at the Spec-Savers Ironman 70.3 South Africa in January, the total number of charity athletes is nearly 100.
A phenomenal feat considering that Wright and Stephenson raised R11 000 back in 2005 for the EP Children’s Home. Today, 12 charities benefit from the work done by the KFC Ironman 4 the Kidz. “Having increased the number of beneficiaries to 12 this year is beyond our wildest imagination,” said Stephenson.
The money raised will be distributed among the 12 children’s based NPO’s in the Nelson Mandela Bay region providing much needed monetary assistance that will go towards making a meaningful difference in the lives of the children.
Daron Mann, who has been actively driving the sport equipment collection identified the KFC Ironman for the Kidz as one of the biggest charities in the Eastern Cape and was excited for Sport Elizabeth to get involved this year. He thanked Virgin Active for the idea and for driving the initiative through their association with Ironman South Africa.
Wright and Stephenson, both Ironman athletes, have dedicated their time and effort to grow the Ironman 4 the Kidz charity and in so doing provide hope for those whose plight might seem hopeless. The charity shows no signs of slowing down, setting a target of R1.6 million for 2013 despite the tough economic climate. These individuals have proven that with a little hard work and dedication, great things can be achieved.