Pedaling Toward Hope
For the fourth year in a row, I put on my biking shoes and pedaled from Miami to Key West Florida. The beautiful weather and sandy beaches will not deter or distract me from reaching my goal.
SMART Ride 8, a FedEx sponsored event, is a two-day 165 mile South Florida bike ride that increases awareness, fights prejudice and improves education about HIV/AIDS. All pledges or 100 percent raised by participants support AIDS direct service organizations such as Broward House, Inc., Metropolitan Charities, Inc., Center for Positive Connections, AIDS Help, Miracle of Love and Comprehensive AIDS Program of Palm Beach County, Inc. The SMART Ride has raised more than three million U.S. dollars over eight years. This year, the SMART Ride raised over $675,724, representing a 40 percent increase over 2010.
FedEx team members joined over 600 participants and their 10,000 supporters in making a difference in the lives of those infected, affected and at risk for HIV/AIDS. We received cheers and praises for having a FedEx vehicle staffed by FedEx Cares volunteers who greeted event volunteers, participants and visitors heading toward the event’s opening ceremony. Before the break of dawn, FedEx Cares volunteers Mary Morrissey, Toni Dodson, David Cooper, Patrick Squires, and Janet Dyer served breakfast to bike riders and crew who prepared for their day-one ride to Marathon, FL. There is nothing like electrolyte drinks, fruit and well intended carbohydrates to help energize the long journey.
Our commitment did not stop there, FedEx team members Leah Payne, Randy Cannon and I raised over $6,000 and rode toward the finish line in Key West, Florida. The ride itself is a healthy endeavor and life experience. Fortunately for us, it is also supported by a SMART Ride crew that helps all riders of all degrees of skill to participate. As part of the SMART Ride crew, FedEx volunteers Robb Wooten and Stephen Douglas were there to help riders along the route.
It is an emotionally great feeling and delight in having the support of FedEx and team members who dedicated their time, energy and hearts for a great cause that has a positive impact in the local community. And we collectively look forward to next year’s SMART Ride 9. It takes all of us to make a difference. Remember the famous quote by anthropologist Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”