A teenage cyclist has told how he is cycling 1,800 miles from Paris to Athens to raise money to help children with heart conditions.
Martin Peglion, 19, is a volunteer for the charitable organisation ‘Mecenat Chirurgie Cardiaque Enfants du Monde’ (‘Children of the World Cardiac Surgery Society’).
The organisation raises money for children to travel to France for cardiac treatment when they cannot get expert medical care in their homelands.
Peglion explained: “My goal is to cycle from Paris to Athens and raise EUR 12,000 to help as many children as possible live normally.”
North Macedonian influencer Roberto Navali heard about the French teen’s fundraising efforts and interviewed him in Strumica, close to the Bulgarian border.
In the video clip, Navali asks him: “Okay bro, tell me where are you from and what are you doing with that bike?”
The fundraising cyclist explains: “My name is Martin, I’m 19 years old, I’m from Paris and I’m going to Athens only on my bike, and I’m doing this for charity.”
Navali points to the sunny sky and says: “It’s hot bro!”
“It’s very hot!” Peglion agrees.
Navali saw a TikTok video of the Frenchman cycling 20 kilometres from Strumica and decided to share it on Instagram Stories.
One of Navali’s followers then recognised Peglion when he was having lunch in the area and showed him the influencer’s Instagram Story.
Peglion then reached out to Navali and the pair arranged an interview in Strumica,
Navali explained: “He takes a tent with all his equipment and sleeps wherever he can, mainly in Prilep (North Macedonia’s fourth-largest city).”
The influencer added: “One of my followers called him to invite him to sleep in his yard.”
“He will travel from Paris to Athens in 30 or 31 days in total.”
Peglion wrote: “When we can save a child’s life with a simple surgical operation, we must not hesitate.”
The charitable organisation has helped around 3,700 children so far and also provides scholarships and medical training for doctors.
Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are the most common form of birth defect, however infants born with these conditions are living increasingly longer and healthier lives as medical care improves.
Peglion’s fundraising efforts, called ‘Paris to Athens by Bike’ have raised EUR 2,695 of its EUR-12,000 target so far with only a few days left until he reaches the Greek capital.
Donations can be made at: https://relaisducoeur.mecenat-cardiaque.org/projects/paris-athenes-a-velo