This year in March I found myself at the ABSA Cape Epic, in the beautiful city of Cape Town. The experience turned out to be such an awesome adventure, I pushed so many new boundaries, I had so many new experiences and met such wholesome people along the way. So Absa Cape Epic is the most televised mountain bike stage race in the world, it takes place over eight days and is classed as hors catégorie ( a French term used in cycle races to designate a climb that is "beyond categorization", or an incredibly tough climb) by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). 600 teams or 1200 riders participate every year. This year the total distance was 748km. I went as a volunteer and was station at Waterpoint 3. I went specifically because of my love for photography and mountain biking. My photography experience was phenomenal, I believe the pictures I captured, I could not have captured anywhere else in the world (www.baveesha.com). I feel so grateful to have got that opportunity. On the other hand, this experience sparked a new dream. I watched riders, big and small, struggle, laugh, fight, cry, hope, pray and really dig deep to make it to the end of the 8 day race. Only hard work, strong will and true determination could get one there and ready to take on the beautiful yet so steep mountains. In the beginning I saw it as craziness, but by Day 8, I knew I’d ride this race one day.
Soon after I decided that :
I’ll return to the CAPE EPIC as a rider in 2017. I’ll do it for our cause, to raise awareness for LOVEauthentic | My Vitiligo Campaign.
This gives me 2 years to train, to go from cycling 20km in 2h30min to cycling in excess of 700km over 8days at the ABSA CAPE EPIC.
It was so amazing how doing it for my LOVEauthentic | My Vitiligo Campaign changed my outlook of this massive task. It made it worthwhile, gave the dream a new drive and the forward force it needed. I’ll do this to bring awareness to LOVEauthentic | My VITILIGO Campaign and ride to remind all “LOVE THE AUTHENTIC YOU”
I’m super excited about what lies ahead. Here’s some pics of my Cape Epic Experience.
A must share, is that, I went to rider the registration day in shorts. I thought to myself, that “I knew nobody here, let me go in the truest form of me and hide nothing”.
Another first, CONQUERED.
I am so glad I did, because thereafter I was so comfortable. The beauty of just being you, is so powerful and serene.
Photography by Baveesha Photography
Story by Alvina Motilall
MY STORY | My name is Alvina Motilall I am 19 years old and I have had vitiligo from the age of 3 . To me it is my whole life, because I can never remember being without my patches. Being so small when I first had it, it did not really have much of an effect on me because I was too small to really know what was going on, all I knew Is that I looked different compared to the rest of my family, and occasionally tried to scrub off the patches or hoped it will heal overnight. As I grew up I began to realize I am DIFFERENT and noticed how the rest of the world reacted to me, this affected me a lot which most of my family are unaware of because I have always been absolutely confident and walked with my head held high but as I entered my teen years it began to affect me. I’ve been on treatment from the age of 3 I have been fully white, patchy with more white, patchy with less white and almost fully brown, which nobody can ever remember, including me, because everyone gets used to my appearance every year. In 2006 I decided to write about me for an English speech which my mother was not very keen on but I was determined to share with my friends how I truly felt, as I wrote I realized wow these patches define me, it is who “I” AM and I decided to name my speech MY PROUDEST MOMENT which was when I didn’t feel different. And I have now written 4 speeches which has impacted many people and gained a lot of recognition in Durban.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST STRUGGLE WITH VITILGO, AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?
To be honest I never really had a big struggle with vitiligo. I had my days where I felt down because somebody picked on me or I wanted to be like my sister ‘ONE COLOUR”, but I guess I have my FAMILY and friends to thank for not struggling. They treated me equally and supported me in everything I wanted to do. I look up especially to my mum, my dad and my sister Ashmeika who has overcome many struggles of her own. My aunt Pricilla also has Vitiligo, she is completely white and has been a great inspiration. Lastly if it was not for my cousins Vash, Les and Marlene, I would have not made it through my schooling career. In the year 2007 I began to reach out to other kids who were embarrassed about having vitiligo and helped them overcome this. I shared my speeches with people who realized that treating people who are different equally, is good. I also decided that instead of crying and bringing myself down I would confront those who would pick on me and make them understand, what it felt like to be in my position. I am proud to say I changed the way many students think and treat people in my primary and high school. I always wanted to reach out to more people and with the help of LOVEauthentic I am now able to achieve my goals , once again my name is Alvina Motilall and I am proud to be DIFFERENT.
WHAT ARE THE LESSONS OR MOTIVATIONS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH ALL
Never give anyone the opportunity to bring you down, if you bring yourself down you are just giving another person leverage to bring you down more, love yourself and learn to embrace your flaws.
To make vitiligo fun do what I do with my cousins find cool patches ,I’ve found a Pac-man and a heart and I think that’s pretty cool I mean who else can say they have cool and amazing tattoos that change as years go pass.
Thanks for being here. Thanks for supporting our initiatives.