SOURCE: AIDS Action Committee

June 28, 2005 09:00 ET

Mass Red Ribbon Ride Seeks Additional New Riders

Ride Delivers Hope as Drastic Budget Cuts Befall AIDS Programs

BOSTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 28, 2005 -- The Mass Red Ribbon Ride, a charity bike ride slated for August 13 and 14, supporting 13 AIDS organizations across the state is ahead of where it was last year for numbers of riders and funds raised so far. "We're very excited about the response to the Ride this year and thrilled to have considerably more teams and riders than last year already signed up! With rising infection rates and diminishing public attention, the coming together of communities around the Ride is a source of hope and inspiration," says Ride manager Andi Genser. "There is still time to sign up, fundraise and train for the Ride and we still need more riders to help us exceed our goal of $350,000."

At a time when most nonprofits are competing against each other for scarce resources, AIDS organizations across the state, along with their community and business supporters, are coming together for the Mass Red Ribbon Ride -- a major collaborative effort to raise funds and awareness around the disease. Thirteen AIDS organizations throughout Massachusetts covering the full spectrum of critical HIV/AIDS services -- from direct care to outreach and education to housing and clinical research -- are joining together for the two-day, 175 mile bicycle ride. "If the world operated the way the Ride operated, it'd be great," said John Gatto, who is the Executive Director of Cambridge Cares about AIDS and also a registered rider.

Beginning in the Berkshires, Saturday, August 13, the ride passes through Northampton, then over the Quabbin Reservoir and through towns in Central MA and Metro west to finish in Weston on August 14. Groups may form teams to fund raise, train and ride together; or to be volunteers or crew members. This year, riders can choose to ride one or two days -- 50, 75, 100 or all 175 miles. All meals, pit stops, first aid/tech support and group overnight accommodations are provided.

Corporations are an important part of the collaboration. Both Ira Motors and Tufts Health Plan have a key role as Lead Sponsors of the event. "HIV/AIDS remains a public health problem that affects every aspect of our health care system including both public and private organizations and corporations," says James Roosevelt, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer, Tufts Health Plan. "We are pleased to join with like-minded organizations in an event that will engage Massachusetts communities in raising awareness of this terrible disease and preventing new infections."

According to HIV Surveillance data there are over 21,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Massachusetts and nearly one-third of them are unaware of their status. New HIV infections continue at the rate of two to four people per day, with a rising number of people of color, gay and bisexual men, and adults over 50. Among those most disproportionately affected are young people ages 13-24. "I'm riding because a year ago I was so sick that I couldn't walk. Today, thanks to many of the benefiting organizations, I am planning to ride. For me, gratitude equals action," says Emerson Miller, one of the many HIV+ riders.

"HIV/AIDS is a complex disease requiring a strong support system of care and services; this ride is a creative way to raise revenue and awareness across the state, helping to meet the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS in our communities," says Kelly Pizzi Smith, registered rider and Program Manager of the American Red Cross Berkshire County Chapter.

Ride collaborators/beneficiaries, who each have a team, include: AIDS Action Committee; AIDS CARE/Hampshire County; American Red Cross Berkshire County Chapter; Boston AIDS Consortium; Cambridge Cares About AIDS; Center for Community Health, Education and Research; Community Research Initiative; Health Awareness Services; JRI Health; Multicultural AIDS Coalition; New England AIDS Education and Training Center; Tapestry Health; and Treatment on Demand.

More ride information is available at the Ride website at Interested riders can email or may contact the Ride Line at 1-888-MassRide (toll-free) or 617-450-1100.

2005 Collaborators/Beneficiaries with Contact People

AIDS Action Committee (Boston)
Marc Davino

AIDS CARE/Hampshire County (Northampton)
Program Director: Anna-Beth Winograd

American Red Cross Berkshire County Chapter (Pittsfield)
HIV/AIDS Program Manager: Kelly Pizzi-Smith

Boston AIDS Consortium (Boston)
Karen Liu
617-867-0144 x33

Cambridge Cares About AIDS (Cambridge)
Kelly McPhee

Center for Community Health, Education & Research (Dorchester)
Gaenslie Lamour
617-265-0628 x223

Health Awareness Services (Worcester &Metro West)
Michael Downs

JRI Health (Boston)
Annie Singh
617-988-8700 x209

Multicultural AIDS Coalition (Boston)
Cynthia Harris

New England AIDS Education and Training Center (Boston-serving NE)
Al Whitaker

Tapestry Health (Throughout Western MA)
John Lutz
413-586-2016 x110

Treatment on Demand (New Bedford)
Drae Perkins

Community Research Initiative of New England (Boston, Springfield,
Cary Raymond

Contact Information

  • Mass Red Ribbon Ride Contacts:

    Andrea Genser
    Email Contact

    Paul Twitchell
    Email Contact

    Mass Red Ribbon Ride
    c/o AAC
    294 Washington St.
    Boston, MA 02108