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les here The Journey begins!

Spirits were high as members of the 'Journey of Hope' Breast Cancer Awareness ride pulled out of Pretoria on Monday morning in a flurry of pink biking gear and growling motorcycle engines.

Family, friends and supporters waved them off on the start of their 10-day journey across the northern parts of South Africa where they will spreading awareness of breast cancer and the importance of its early detection among rural communities.


"The purpose of the Journey of Hope ride is to convey a positive and hopeful message regarding breast cancer in a unique and vibrant way," a spokesperson said. "This is done through a group of breast-cancer survivors travelling on Honda motorcycles and sharing the stories of their individual battles while highlighting the importance of early detection."

This year the team has been joined by two male breast-cancer survivors who are sharing the message that men can get breast cancer, too.

Day one sent the group from Pretoria to Hazyview via Emalahleni and Waterval Boven. They were escorted by Think Bike! marshals and joined en route by various biking communities who rode in escort for part of the route to show their support.

LOOK OUT FOR THEM: There's no mistaking the 'Journey of Hope' riders - they're all in the pink - and the emergency support vehicle is wearing the world's biggest bra.

At Waterval Boven the group addressed the local community on the importance of early detection. "It is important for people to know that breast cancer can be treated, and it can be beaten, as long as it is detected early enough," was the message they hammered out.


Timothy Mlenje, breast-cancer survivor and member of the 2011 Journey of Hope Team said: "They also need to know that state funding is available for treatment in cases where the patient can't afford to pay. Many women will avoid visiting the clinic for financial reasons."

On Tuesday the riders and the convoy hit the open road again, travelling from Hazyview to Tzaneen via Pilgrim's Rest, Graskop and the Blyde River Canyon. Presentations were given at The Oaks clinic and at the Maake Centre in Tzaneen.

To find out about meeting the riders along the route call Beverley Sterley on (082) 840-3633. A detailed itinerary is available at: www.journeyofhope.co.za/itinerary.html or for more information about 'Journey of Hope 2011' call (082) 840-3633 or visit the 'Journey of Hope' website.

Follow Journey of Hope rider and breast-cancer survivor Kathy Malherbe's blog.

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