Joshua joins Reach For A Dream’s charity team as its official ambassador in the gruelling Virgin Active 947 Ride Joburg 2023
Pedalling for Hope: Joshua Sole, the 14-Year-Old Cancer Warrior Leading the Charge Against Childhood Illness
Johannesburg, South Africa – 15 September 2023: Joshua Sole, a 14-year-old cancer warrior, is leading Reach For A Dream’s charity team – the Dream Riders – in the Virgin Active 947 Ride Joburg 2023. This young cyclist is pedalling not just for his love of the sport but to inspire hope in children battling life-threatening illnesses.
At eight years old, Joshua was diagnosed with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma—an uncommon type of soft tissue cancer in children. His treatment regimen was intense, involving 12 surgeries, over 100 days of hospitalization, 14 months of chemotherapy, and 60 days of radiation. Despite these challenges, which included losing 15 friends, Joshua’s spirit remained unbroken. His passion for cycling became his beacon, guiding him through the toughest times.
“His journey with cancer was like a big race,” says his mother, Lara Sole. “There are different levels of pain. You wonder if you can continue and even want to give up. But it’s a matter of mind over matter. You have to keep going.”
Earlier this year, Reach For A Dream, a leading non-profit organisation that fulfils the dreams of children suffering from life-threatening illnesses, learnt about Joshua’s dream to own a professional Titan bicycle. The team organised an unforgettable day at Cycle Lab Bike Park Bryanston, where he received a Dream Rider’s cycle kit, his dream bike, and a day of biking challenges. He also received a motivational message from professional cyclist Daryl Impey while training for the Tour de France.
According to Sole, Joshua’s bike means the world to him. “When he was sick, he couldn’t walk, so for him, the bike is a huge deal as we used cycling as an incentive to motivate him to get better,” says Sole. “The bike is so precious to Josh that it is carefully placed not in the garage but in the entertainment area, and it’s not uncommon for him to spend two to four hours cleaning it after each ride.”
Joshua, now in recovery from cancer, has set his sights on participating in the 947 Ride Joburg as the ambassador for the Dream Riders. “For Joshua, taking part in this event is not just about fulfilling a personal goal; it’s about showing other children battling life-threatening illnesses that they too can recover, get stronger, and pursue their dreams,” says Sole.
The Reach For A Dream Foundation encourages South Africans to join the Dream Riders and participate in the 947 Ride Joburg to support children like Joshua.
“Every Dream Rider’s dedication to this challenging race truly mirrors their compassion for our dreamers. It’s an inspiring display of unity that communicates, ‘Your battle is our battle, and united, we can overcome anything,'” says Natalie Lazaris, Head of Business at Reach For A Dream.
Thanks to Old Mutual Insure, every rand raised, including the R1 800 charity fee to join Dream Riders, goes towards making dreams come true.
Cyclists can register online at reachforadream.org.za/dream-riders before 6 October. Alternatively, others can help breathe life into children’s dreams by donating online.