In 2004 Glenn and Corinne of Family Adventures invited me to join them for a “Dop & Chat” at a hotel in Braamfontein and shared the vision of an off road ride from Johannesburg to Durban.

Quads 4 Quads, the idea of quad bikes on this epic adventure for quadriplegics, was born. It was an amazing recipe to inspire off road riders to go the extra mile for a worthy cause. The extent of the adventure was enormous, as was the challenge to find an off road route through farms and valleys, over rivers and mountains, under bridges and tunnels for 1000kms.

Family Adventures knew that there was a way and we were all hoping that there were subscribers to this journey.

Eleven years down the line, more than R6 000 000.00 was raised for QASA and there were a couple of thousand happy riders talking about having completed one of the items on their bucket list.

That is QUADS 4 QUADS. This event is now firmly established on the off-road motorbike calendar. It has not only attracted the attention of the media, some international off-road riders, the local communities and some celebrities (even Alfie Cox has ticked this box), but amazingly quite a few quadriplegics and paraplegics have competed on their adapted motorbikes.

In 2006, after having spent two years watching the start and the finish and meeting and greeting the riders who have made a difference to QASA, I decided to get a quad bike, make the necessary adaptations and give it a go.

My first ride from Ballito to Johannesburg was an exercise in survival. I had no idea how difficult it was to manage the distance, the weather, the terrain and the obstacles that I was to face over 1 000 km. Camaraderie from all directions is what saved me in 2006.

Now, I can proudly say that in 2014 I completed my 10th QUADS 4 QUADS!

Every year has had its own challenges and highlights. I am privileged to have the adapted equipment, a wonderful team to support me, the unwavering support of fellow riders, and Family Adventures doing everything that it takes to make sure that not only I, but any other rider with a disability, gets through and makes their dream come true.

QASA is very proud that at least three dozen quadriplegics and paraplegics have completed this epic journey.

We are grateful and humble beneficiaries of the revenue stream from this event which allows QASA to deliver meaningful projects, products and services for quadriplegics and paraplegics in South Africa. Never in my wildest dreams did I think after having become a quadriplegic as a result of a diving accident 30 years ago, that I would have the opportunity of riding an off-road motorbike from Durban to Johannesburg and back. This event has changed so many people’s lives in so many different ways. LONG LIVE QUADS 4 QUADS.

Driving Ambitions awarded third place at SAB Innovation Awards

The South African Breweries (SAB) Foundation has crowned the winners in its 4th annual Social Innovation Awards 2014, which was competing for the R1-million first place prize. A total of 18 innovations moved through to the final judging phase adjudicated by an independent panel of business and industry experts.

Driving Ambitions, a pioneer program of the QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA), is a driver-training program for people with mobility impairments to learn to drive in specially adapted vehicles with the aim of achieving their driving licence. The ultimate impact for those candidates on the program who are not already employed is to secure mainstream and meaningful employment through this newfound freedom.

QASA’s Driving Ambitions project entered the SAB Innovation Awards with the vision of expanding into more provinces. Driving Ambitions was awarded 3rd place and R350 000.00 in the SAB Innovations Awards 2014. Ari Seirlis, CEO of QASA says, “This is a huge accomplishment for QASA and will help us impact positively on more people lives.”