Illinois Wesleyan Graduate to Bicycle Over 4,000 miles for HIV/AIDS

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Chicago IL: On June 18 2012, Illinois Wesleyan graduate Sameehan Patel will dip his tire in the Pacific Ocean at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, California and begin an epic journey across the country by bicycle. Patel and eighteen other students make up the 2012 Ride Against AIDS team that will cycle over 4,000 miles across America this summer.

To Sameehan, the ride against AIDS is a unique opportunity to open the country’s eyes about a topic that has otherwise been pushed aside. This ride would give us an ability to reach people across the country on a level that a phone call or email cannot achieve. As a theatre major, he studies the art of how people communicate with one another. I would be thrilled to have an opportunity to interact with different people from different walks of life.

This powerful cross-country bike ride is dedicated to raising awareness and funds to fight HIV/AIDS is run by FACE AIDS, a youth-led nonprofit that works in the U.S. and Rwanda. The Ride was started in 2007 by two Stanford students. This summer, the fifth annual Ride Against AIDS aims to raise over $100,000, as each rider pledges to raise at least $5,000.

Of this high goal, Sameehan says, it is important for us to engage with the world in any way that we can. It is easy to forget that we live in a country where we have endless opportunities and abundant resources compared to the many suffering from economic and health inequity. Even a simple donation of $5 can bridge the gap and create a profound impact on an individual’s life.

In addition to fundraising, riders will speak with and give presentations to community groups, summer camps, elected representatives, Rotary Clubs, schools, FACE AIDS chapters, and individuals across the country about the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

The 2011 Ride Against AIDS team biked almost 4,500 miles over 67 days and stopped in 54 cities. Throughout their journey, they directly reached over 1,000 individuals and indirectly through print and online media reached hundreds of thousands. The riders are more than fundraisers; they are educators and ambassadors for the cause, inspiring others and drawing them into the movement for global health equity. To learn more, visit www.faceaids.org/raa. You will receive a free T-shirt with a donation of $20 or more. To donate, please visit http://www.citizeneffect.org/projects/face-aids-ride-against-aids-2012-sameehan.

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