The charity I will be riding in aid of is called “Facing Africa”, an international charity concerned with the prevention and cure of the disease Noma.
What is it?
Noma, derived from the Greek word ‘nomein’, meaning ‘to devour”, is a devastating bacterial necrosis, that develops in the mouths of it’s victims.  Ulcers develop, quickly developing into Noma if untreated, eating away both soft and bone tissue in the face.  It is predominantly rife among African children, between the ages of 2 and 6 years old.  It is almost unheard of in the West, simply due to the high levels of hygiene and nutrition we have.. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimate that 140,000 new cases of Noma occur each year.
The disease attacks the vital functions of the face, stopping the victim from being able to eat, breath, or even see fully.  There is an 90% death rate from contracting the disease, since lockjaw inhibits the victim from being able to eat, thus causing them to starve.
The 10% that survive the disease itself are left with horrible facial disfigurations, such as that shown above.  They are seen as a curse upon a community, and are often abandoned by their loved ones in the middle of nowhere.
What can be done?
If the disease is caught in its earliest stages, it can be easily treated by inexpensive antibiotics, mouthwash and vitamin supplements.  However, these cures are either unavailable in the places that it is needed most, or it is simply too expensive to buy.
Reconstructive surgery is also able to be carried out on survivors of the disease.  The cost of shipping one Noma victim from Africa to the West to carry out surgery can cost up to £40,000.
Facilities that have been set up in Africa to enable facial reconstruction to take place there reduces the cost significantly, costing only £800 per child.
A small boy of 8 was recently asked why he was so happy and smiled all the time, soon after reconstructive surgery had been completed.  He simply replied: “I will now be able to play with my friends.”  Another child answered: “I will now be able to drink through a straw.”
For every £800 that is raised, another child is able to be given a new face and a new life.  Money will also go towards funding the most primitive of healthcare centres, so that the disease can be treated early.