"Ride for Life" - 31yo cycling around NZ for "I AM HOPE"
Raphael Kanopf is on a mission "Ride for Life" to cycle a lap around New Zealand in a bid to raise awareness and money for the I Am Hope Foundation (a non-profit organisation who support young New Zealanders suffering from mental illness). He will end up cycling over 7000km over a period of 5 months. Having started on the 2nd January 2020, he has already cycled his way from Auckland to Cape Reinga and is now making his way down to Wellington (via the east coast of the North Island), before heading across to the South Island.
Armed with only a bicycle and bare essentials, Raphael is cycling without money, food or a support vehicle. All funds raised through the project’s Givealittle page will be donated directly to the I AM HOPE Foundation. In order to complete this project, Raphael is relying on the generosity and support of New Zealanders whilst on the road. As it is well documented that community and a sense of belonging can be an integral part of mental well-being, Raphael believes that the community spirit of the country he’s come to know as his home, will enable him to complete this impressive sojourn. And so far, the Kiwi spirit does not disappoint - he’s already met a bunch of awesome people who have offered accommodation, local businesses that have supported with a cup of coffee or a meal, and a bike shop who has helped with some repairs.
To this day Raphael has cycled 2500km and he still has over 4500km to go. This project is no easy feat, physically and mentally exhausting, however worth every pedal for the cause that it supports. Too many young Kiwi lives are being lost by suicide each year - in 2018, 137 young people died by suicide and it is estimated another 3500 tried to take their own lives. While Government agencies are doing their best, some kids are stuck waiting up to six months to receive the counselling they so urgently need. The strength of community can make a world of difference during our darkest and most difficult moments. We hope that you will share Raphael’s story as he undertakes this impressive journey around New Zealand, and help him to raise awareness and much needed funds for the I AM HOPE foundation.