SOURCE: AIDS Action Committee

April 26, 2005 11:25 ET

Mass Red Ribbon Ride: Already Two Times Ahead of Last Year

Ride Delivers Hope as Drastic Budget Cuts Befall AIDS Programs

BOSTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 26, 2005 -- 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.

"We are proud to be a part of this unique collaboration of AIDS organizations working together to increase awareness and raise critical funds to support the important work we all do everyday," says Julie Marston, Executive Director of Community Research Initiative (CRI). "As Massachusetts weathers new cuts from the federal and state government, this Ride is even more important in making sure that no one affected by HIV is without access to lifesaving services."

Beginning in the Berkshires, Saturday, August 13, the ride passes through the Northampton/Amherst area, then over the Quabbin Reservoir and through towns in Central MA and Metro west to finish in Weston on August 14. More than 200 riders are expected. Groups may form teams to fund raise, train and ride together; or to be volunteers or crew members. "We are thrilled to have more teams and twice as many riders as last year already signed up! Now, 20 years into the epidemic, 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.

This year, riders can choose to ride either both days or just one, or they may join as a Virtual Rider -- riding on an exercise bike at the gym or finding other ways to raise money and show support. Daily mileage is 50-75 or 100 and 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 will be playing a key role as Lead Sponsors of the event. "HIV/AIDS remains a public health problem and a threat to our youth," says Nancy Leaming, President and Chief Executive Officer, Tufts Health Plan. "We at Tufts Health Plan want to do all that we can to raise awareness of this terrible disease and prevent new infections. We're pleased to join with like-minded organizations in participating in this wonderful community event."

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.

"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, Program Manager of the American Red Cross Berkshire County Chapter.

Ride collaborators/beneficiaries 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.

"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.

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, Provincetown)
Cary Raymond

Contact Information

  • Mass Red Ribbon Ride Contacts:

    Andrea Genser

    Paul Twitchell

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