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Natalie du Toit and Team Fortissimo take on the Midmar Mile to raise funds for the Teddy Bear Clinic

by ZwemZa on February 8th, 2019

Back: Donor liaison officer Dalene Bishop from the Teddy Bear Clinic. Front: Swimmers Natalie du Toit, Elvira Wood, Bindi the bear, Deon van Niekerk and Arthur Blake train at the Parktown Boys’ High School swimming pool. Photo: Sarah Koning

Olympic swimmer Natalie du Toit and Olympic fencer Elvira Wood together with a team of five other swimmers are taking on theMidmar Mile to raise funds for the Teddy Bear Clinic.

The clinic is based in Parktown and assists abused children through conducting forensic medical exams, forensic assessments, counselling, psychological assistance, court preparation and, most recently, a diversion programme for youth sexual offenders.

Team Fortissimo, as they are known, said they are swimming a mile to lessen the hurt of these abused children.

What began as a small team raising R10 000 for the Teddy Bear Clinic five years ago is now aiming to raise R100 000 this year.

Team member Deon van Niekerk said,

“There is a dark world out there where children are abused and don’t have a voice or someone looking after them. Teddy Bear Clinic stands up for these children and gives them hope.”

The team not only hopes to raise funds but also awareness about the clinic.

Du Toit, who will be swimming as part of the team for the second year said, “This is about growing an organisation that deserves a lot in return for what they do. They have some amazing success stories. They are a big charity, but a small one in terms of funding.”

Swimmers Natalie du Toit, Elvira Wood with Bindi the bear, Deon van Niekerk, donor liaison officer for the Teddy Bear Clinic Dalene Bishop and swimmer Arthur Blake look forward to taking on the Midmar Mile in support of the Teddy Bear Clinic. In absentia are swimmers Steph Cilliers, Armas Fereira and Tania Jurgeleit. Photo: Sarah Koning

Teddy Bear Clinic needs R11.7 million each year to complete their work, 60 per cent of which is funded by the Department of Social Development. The foundation relies on donations to cover the remainder.

“The ANC says that children are the future. This is a great opportunity for South Africans to give back to the youth. I look forward to taking this amazing cause to the people,” said du Toit.

Du Toit said she looks forward to hosting a swimming clinic toward the end of this year to raise more funds and train swimmers for next year’s Midmar Mile.

The team will also swim with Bindi the bear, who represents all the children who have been treated badly. Regardless of how she is treated, Bindi overcomes and does courageous things.

While Team Fortissimo aims to swim as a group and Du Toit has promised to swim socially, Van Niekerk said it’s tough to keep up with an Olympic swimmer.

Teddy Bear Clinic wishes to thank Parktown Boys’ High School for the use of their pool and Europcar who donated a bus to transport the team to Midmar and generously donated R5 000 to the cause.

The swim is dedicated to Myles Sinclair who passed away suddenly in December.

If you would like to contribute to the cause, visit www.bit.ly/2019TBMM

Sarah Koning

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