A cause worth taking a punch for

The fists of financiers will fly this evening at the Cape Quarter shopping complex as members from the financial sector don their boxing gloves for the annual Armoury Boxing Club Financial Services Fight Night.

Among them is André Baldeo, a 42-year-old north Londoner who has made Cape Town his home for the last 10 years. An energy derivatives trader by day, he masquerades as a charitable hero by night as he puts up his dukes for a good cause.

Baldeo has been a supporter of Miracle Kidz Safe House in Constantia for four years and also serves on their committee. He has undertaken 3 months of gruelling training to partake in a white collar charity boxing match that will test his nerves and skills to the limit.

“I’ve been training at the Armoury Boxing Club in Woodstock twice a week along with my fellow financial service boxers. In between training sessions I have also been doing some personal training sessions, gymming by myself, doing yoga and running, all to get ready for this fight.

“It has been six-days-a-week training for three months and I’m exhausted to be honest but the end is now in sight and I cannot wait to get in there.

“Two years ago a friend and I rode a tandem bike in the Cape Town Cycle Tour in aid of Miracle Kidz. It’s sucha great way to raise awareness for an amazing cause.

“It also gives you extra incentive when you are training to work that much harder knowing that these special kids will benefit.

“The pain we go through is miniscule when compared with what the kids have been through before Elsie and Thomas have taken them in.

“I’d highly recommend anyone wanting to set themselves a sporting target that they would like to combine with raising awareness and funds for a cause to have Miracle Kidz as their beneficiary,” he said.

According to Bondeo, Miracle Kidz was initially going to be the primary beneficiary of the event itself but when that was no longer on the table he took it upon himself to champion their cause.

“I was half way through the training and didn’t want to quit so I thought I’d try and raise some money for the MK house independently.

“I thought that the analogy of boxing and the situation some of these children came from is very poignant.

“The kids at Miracle Kidz Safe House come from diverse communities with many socio-economic problems; alcoholism drug abuse domestic violence, incest, physical abuse and neglect to name but a few.

“Most of these kids are born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and related spectrum disorders such as ADHD and face a lifetime of struggle as a result of permanent brain damage caused by drugs and alcohol which their parents consumed.

“These kids really were fighting for their lives, fighting for survival.”It’s been quite a journey for me.

“This is the toughest training I’ve undertaken in my life, and I’m hurting, but the finale is in sight. My wife Becky has been very supportive, and she’ll be happy when I can have a beer again as I’ve been grumpier than usual.

“The 5 am starts to get to the boxing gym, the physio trips, special diet, sleepless nights, black eyes and sore muscles – it’s really been one hell of a ride.

“I can say that I have learnt so much over the past three months and it’s no wonder boxing is called the ‘sweet science’.

“There are so many aspects to it and I think the stigma of it being brutal is rapidly fading. You use every muscle in your body, including your brain.

“I’d love to carry on with it after this fight but first I am looking forward to a bit of a breather and maybe a cold beer too,” said Baldeo.

Tickets for the event can be purchased at the door for R200. Doors open at 7pm with the event kicking off at 7.30pm. Funds from the event will go towards the Partners for Possibility project.

Miracle Kidz Safe House is a registered Non-Profit Organization that get a government grant of R27 per day per child in their care. From this grant they are expected to feed, clothe, provide medical care and shelter to all these vulnerable children. It stands to reason that they rely heavily on public donations and fundraisers to make ends meet. To keep on doing the amazing work that they do, MK House requires R40000 every single month.

Visit www.miraclekidz.co.za for more information or to make a donation . Alternatively, contact Elsie du Plessis on 072 761 9301.