Three Welsh cyclists – two of which now work for the NHS – have called on the people of Wales to join the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) Coronavirus Appeal, which is working to help the world’s most vulnerable communities threatened by Covid-19.
In a video message Rachel Draper, a coach at Welsh Cycling and former double World Champion cyclist, was joined by retired cycling husband and wife, Olympian, Ciara Oliva (nee Horne) and Commonwealth champion, Lewis Oliva – who now both work for the NHS – to call for support of the DEC appeal in Wales.
“The Coronavirus pandemic has touched many people in our towns and communities across Wales,” explained Ciara, who was an Olympian at Rio 2016, European Champion, a double World Cup winner and World Championship medallist.
“Sadly, families have lost loved ones. We’ve had to adapt to a new way of doing things, working, shopping, exercising, but perhaps most of all we have missed being able to get together with our closest friends and family.
“But we know from our own experience, here at home, that simple steps, taking simple precautions makes a huge difference.”
Now, a full-time physiotherapist with the NHS, Ciara explained how the appeal shows the dire need in poorest countries around the world.
In countries like Yemen, Syria and Sudan, families who have already had to flee violent conflict, now they face the new threat of coronavirus, without the precautions to protect themselves.
Ciara continued: “In some countries, volunteers use bikes to travel out to very remote communities to give them vital information about to how to prevent infection from Covid-19. As elite cyclists, we salute their effort, commitment, and determination to get the job done and save lives.
“Here in Wales, we have been told, time and again, how important it is to wash our own hands frequently, to stop the spread of Coronavirus.
“It’s easy for us because we can turn on the tap at home and out comes clean water. So clean, we can drink it. But in many countries around the world, the very thing that is essential for handwashing – clean water – just isn’t available.”
Cyclist Lewis Oliva, who spent six years with British cycling, winning medals at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, World Cup and European and Commonwealth Games, before going onto study medicine at Cardiff University, added:
“We know the charities that make up the DEC have unique expertise and when those charities come together to launch an appeal, things must be serious.
“Charities like CAFOD, a member of the DEC, are already on the ground in places like Syria, doing what they can, but they need our help.
“The need is urgent. But together, we can help families protect themselves with water, soap, handwashing stations and healthcare information.”
Whatever you can give, however small, it will make a huge difference to help us reach and protect the most vulnerable people who have already lost everything.