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Andrew Espin, general manager of Decision Inc. in Cape Town, will be competing in the epic Ecuador leg of the 4 Deserts extreme self-supported foot race. Andrew will be undertaking this gruelling race in order to raise awareness and funds for the St Joseph’s Home for Chronically Ill Children.

The Racing the Planet event takes place at the end of July and covers six stages translating to roughly 250 kilometres in 7 days. Carrying his own supplies, Andrew will run through mixed terrain, climbing to just under 4 000m.

“Taking part in such an extreme endurance event where you need to overcome physical and mental obstacles helps me put context into my life. The time and training commitment is extensive and the race itself is renowned for being very challenging. I am proud to be part of this global event. I want to take the opportunity to raise awareness for a South African charity that is dealing with very serious shortfalls in funding. St Joseph’s is about ‘changing lives one small step at a time’ and I hope that the steps I take will assist in giving some children a second chance.” says Espin.

Started in 1935, St Joseph’s Home is based in Montana. Every year, it gives nearly 300 children a second chance at childhood. Children diagnosed with life threatening or limiting conditions are referred here from state hospitals to continue their care programme. Prevalent illnesses include HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, respiratory, heart-lung-kidney failures, congenital abnormalities, and neurological impairments.

Most children remain at St Joseph’s for three to six months, or a year (special cases), while they undergo treatment and rehabilitation. The children are all from poverty stricken homes and have to face daunting socio-economic challenges on a daily basis. Most home circumstances consist of living in a shack or rural village with no running water and electricity. St Joseph’s provides these children a safe place to undergo treatment and heal before reuniting with their families.

“We need the support and awareness that Andrew is raising. Funding is always an issue, there is such a big need to help these children. We need the general public to assist where possible and initiatives like the one Andrew is undertaking, supported by companies like Decision Inc., form an integral part of generating awareness,” says Alrika Hefers, manager for the resource development department at St Joseph’s.

In addition to recognition, she says that competing in such an event shows children at the home that perseverance and commitment pays off.

“Above and beyond the awareness he is raising for us, Andrew is showing children what can be accomplished through hard work. Our children are from very poor communities and face significant challenges in their lives. Andrew’s passion for the work he does and how he is assisting us provide true inspiration for the children,” says Hefers.

Espin is the first to admit that it is very difficult to balance training and his work at Decision Inc. but that the support from his wife Bretta is invaluable to this.

“She gives me the foundation I need and provides a great support system. I have to get up at 04:30 every morning for training and still balance my responsibilities at Decision Inc. and my family life. It is all about having faith in your abilities and simply getting stuck in to overcome what seems at first to be insurmountable challenges. In life, as in business, it is a case of putting one foot in front of the other, putting your head down, and doing it,” he says.

If you are interested in making a donation and assist in the “Adopt a Bed” project of St Joseph’s Home, please use the following details:

Name of Bank: Standard Bank
Account name: St Joseph´s Home
Account number: 271166614
Branch name: Pinelands
Branch code: 036309
Swift Code: SBZAZAJJ
Reference: Four Deserts