A hundred sky hikers strike out against cancer for well-loved wine writer

Icy roads and freezing winds didn’t deter 100 hikers who braved the beautiful Sani Pass on Sunday 17 June in aid of a cause whose challenges far outweighed their own: the fight against cancer by well-loved wine writer Nonnie Dedekind.

In sub-zero conditions the hikers scaled the 8km Drakensberg pass to raise funds – and a glass – in Africa’s
highest pub, in tribute to Nonnie’s continued battle and in aid of the Sunflower Fund, for whom Nonnie
requested that the funds be raised.

The event was held as part of the annual Jade Sky Hike, an anti-cancer fundraiser that began in 2007 in support of Jade Preston, a little girl who lost her life to Leukaemia. The 2012 hike has so far raised more than R10,000.

Nora Sperling-Thiel of Delheim in Stellenbosch reflected on the event as a life-changing chance to meet others who have lost or continue to fight for loved ones affected by the disease. “The majestic Drakensberg Mountains embraced us as we hiked up the pass – a 1,000 metre climb at minus 7 degrees Celsius,” Nora said. “With swollen hands, the slippery roads and wind chill our constant companions, we carried up our sunflowers remembering all of our friends who suffer, and have suffered under this terrible disease: especially Nonnie Dedekind and her family.”

“New friendships were made under beautiful blue skies, each person honouring someone dear to them,” Nora said. “Many thanks to the organisers Ian and Mandy Tyrer for their hard work and wonderful generosity.”

Those who couldn’t hike on the day can contribute using the code KZN donation JSH, to ABSA account number 4051834719, branch code 632005.

The Jade Sky Hike has been held for the following honoraries, and in recognition of sufferers fighting, victorious, or defeated by the disease.

2007/8: Jade Preston; a three-day, 200km border post to border post cycling event

2010: Josh Rencken; a grade 10 Maritzbug College pupil and survivor – and a first team rugby player as of 2012!

2011: Curtis Huysamen and Roanne Duncan

2012: Nonnie Dedekind; in support of the Sunflower Fund

For further information see http://www.facebook.com/groups/270418259732211/.

Top caption: Nora Sperling-Thiel of Delheim