Massachusetts: AIDS Ride Returns on Different Course
September 15, 2003
Approximately 60 bicyclists turned out for a bike ride for AIDS on Saturday. The new ride, from Boston to Provincetown, began at 6 a.m. in front of Club Café. So far, the riders have raised $125,000 for HIV/AIDS research and outreach.Adapted from:
Last year, the popular Boston-to-New York fundraising ride shut down amid a swirl of controversy over the small amount of the money raised that actually went toward AIDS and cancer research. Pallotta TeamWorks, a Los Angeles fundraising company that had been the ride's major corporate organizer, closed its doors in August 2002 under pressure of several lawsuits after nearly all its clients broke ties with the company.
This year, organizers stressed that 80 percent of the proceeds will go directly to the Fenway Community Health Center, which severed ties with the Boston-to-New York AIDS ride last year. The rest will go to the Cape Cod AIDS Support Group.
"People didn't think we could do it, but we did it," said Frank Ribaudo, the owner of Club Café. He added that donations keep pouring in.
The Boston-to-Provincetown ride was dedicated to Michael Tye, a former Fenway Community Health Center board member who died of bone cancer at age 49 in June. Tye had challenged his friends to organize this year's ride. More than 100 businesses and 120 local volunteers pitched in time and resources to make the new ride happen. "We were a little skeptical ..., but Michael was a visionary," said Thomas Leavitt, a past president of the Fenway board of directors and a ride organizer. The Fenway center provides direct care to more than 1,300 AIDS patients.
Plans are already underway for next year's ride. Leavitt said even if the event grows, organizers would never hand the reins over to major corporate groups. "This ride is about respecting the donors' dollar and letting them know that every dollar will help support HIV and AIDS research," Leavitt said.
09.14.03; Megan Tench
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.