Local and Community News
Illinois: HIV Bike Fundraiser Ready to Roll Again
April 10, 2003
Canticle Ministries in Wheaton, Ill., was one of 13 Midwest beneficiaries of the Heartland AIDS Ride. Last year, Canticle and other groups broke with Heartland's creator, Pallotta Teamworks, after the Los Angeles firm was criticized for spending a disproportionate amount of ride proceeds on promotion and other event costs. But Brad Ogilvie, director of the nonprofit Chicago- area HIV/AIDS service agency, and many other Heartland riders did not want to stop pedaling for a good cause.Adapted from:
"People started calling, wondering what we could do, and we started brainstorming," Ogilvie said. "We came up with the HOPE Ride, a four-day ride between Quad cities [Moline and Rock Island, Ill., and Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa] and Wheaton.
Scheduled for July 17-20 and produced by volunteers, the inaugural HOPE (Heartlanders Opening People's Eyes) ride will begin in the Quad Cities and will end in Wheaton, with overnight stops in Galena, Rockford and McHenry.
The HOPE ride differs from other AIDS rides planned in the Midwest this summer because it will recruit participants who have HIV/AIDS, Ogilvie said. "People with HIV/AIDS need to help people with AIDS more instead of sitting around expecting other people to take care of us," said Ogilvie, who has been HIV-positive for 16 years. "The ride will also be [an opportunity for] people living with HIV to show the community that they can be healthy," Ogilvie said. "With support, they can make a commitment to health and do something that maybe they didn't think they could do."
About 5 percent of the participants in the Heartland rides were HIV-positive, according to Ogilvie. HOPE organizers hope that HIV-positive people will make up as many as 20 percent of those who make the trip from the Quad Cities to Wheaton.
Ogilvie said the project faces several challenges, including residual doubts about Heartland's charitable distributions, a public distracted by the war in Iraq, an uncertain economic climate and compassion fatigue. For more information, visit www.hope-ride.org.
04.10.03; Lynn Van Matre