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Ride for Life
31 December 2021

Riding to add life to days: the EPIC Cyclist group embarked on the Ride for Life with the aim of raising $100,000 for HCA. Above: The EPIC cyclist group at one of their rest stops.

By Toh Wei Shi, HCA Community Relations

For EPIC cyclist Muhammad bin Idris Alkhatib, participating in the inaugural Ride for Life cycling fundraiser, was a way for him to return the kindness he and his family had received from the HCA team.

Muhammad (front, centre) on the Ride for Life with his fellow EPIC cyclists.

In the middle of 2020, Muhammad and his family were devastated to learn that his mother was stricken with cancer. “My mother went for a check-up and the doctor suddenly told us that she had cancer and it was terminal,” he shared. “We were all shocked because she seemed fine. She never had any pains or problems.”

What followed was a flurry of turbulent emotions, as they decided on the next steps. Muhammad’s mother was given two options – to go for aggressive treatment or to live out the remaining days as comfortably as possible. “She calmly chose not to fight it,” Muhammad stoically said.

“I cannot even remember much about what happened after, because I was in a state of shock, but the next thing I knew after signing the papers, was that a team of doctors and nurses from HCA, came to my house to take care of her.”

A Good Death

The prospect of losing their mother was undeniably difficult for Muhammad and his family, but the professionalism and compassion of the HCA team provided some measure of comfort. “They were very professional about their work, but they also felt like family,” Muhammad says. “They grew very close to my mum in the short span of time and she was really happy. She would hug them, whenever they came over.”

“In the end, my mum went peacefully and her death was as good as it could be.”

Filled with appreciation for the care they had received, Muhammad quickly agreed to participate in the Ride for Life, when he learned about the initiative. “A friend of mine told me that Clifford (founder of EPIC Cyclist and organiser of the Ride for Life) was organising another ride,” Muhammad explains. “We used to ride together years ago. I jumped at the chance when I learned that HCA was the beneficiary, because they went above and beyond for my mother.”

Round the Island

United by a common vision to cycle for a good cause, over 35 cyclists joined Clifford and Muhammad in the 400km islandwide cycling tour from 11-12 December.

Dividing themselves in small groups in compliance with Safe Management Measures, the EPIC Cyclist team braved sweltering heat and rain to complete the challenge, even making a special pitstop at HCA Kang Le Day Hospice along the way.

The EPIC Cyclist group included a pitstop at HCA Kang Le Day Hospice in their route.

Established in 2013, the EPIC Cyclist group distinguishes itself from other charity cycling initiatives, by upping the challenge factor. “Unlike typical charity rides which are more relaxed and encourage mass participation, we conceptualised an endurance ride, where cyclists would stretch their limits and – quite literally – go the distance for our beneficiaries,” Clifford explains.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EPIC Cyclist group would undertake the annual charity ride overseas, raising funds for a selected charity. Over the years, they have visited several countries, including Malaysia and Thailand. Each ride requires extensive planning, which the EPIC Cyclist group undertakes at their own expense. Therefore, all funds raised from their rides are channelled to the beneficiary.

Clifford, founder of the EPIC Cyclist group and organiser of the Ride for Life.

This is the first time the group is raising funds for HCA, with a local countrywide ride akin to the numerous home visits the HCA team makes across the island each day. “We felt that HCA does very meaningful work, supporting the terminally ill and their families at home,” Clifford shares. “It is remarkable that all their services are provided for free, regardless of circumstances.”

“It also came as a surprise to us, that HCA has such a long history, yet the HCA name is not as well known. This is something EPIC looks out for: charities that are well run, doing good, meaningful work but fall under the radar.”