Emory Report
April 10, 2006
Volume 58, Number 26


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April 10 , 2006
Bikers break a sweat for HIV/AIDS research
at Action Cycling 200

by christi gray

Team Emory will saddle up the weekend of May 20-21, for Action Cycling 200 (AC200), a two-day, 200-mile bike ride benefiting the Emory Vaccine Center’s HIV/AIDS vaccine research program organized by Action Cycling Atlanta.

Action Cycling Atlanta, comprised of dedicated cyclists, is a volunteer organization whose primary goals are to build public awareness of HIV/AIDS, to raise funds to support HIV/AIDS vaccine research and to provide services for people living with the disease.

In its fourth year, the AC200 event has raised more than $100,000 for the Emory Vaccine Center. “These unrestricted funds for AIDS vaccine research are critical for our faculty members who are working to find the AIDS vaccine that will, hopefully, one day put an end to the AIDS pandemic,” said AC200 participant and Vice President for Health Sciences Development Phil Hills.

“I believe providing funds to support research toward the discovery of a vaccine for AIDS is one of the most pressing and challenging goals of our lifetime,” Hills said. “The international impact of AIDS is devastating. The only way we can find a way to stop the disease is by each of us trying to help—in whatever way possible.”

David Hanson, associate vice president for administration and special assistant to the executive vice president for finance and administration will also be riding with Team Emory. “I was attracted to the AC200 during its first year for two reasons,” Hanson said. “It’s the challenge of riding 200 miles and the cause of eradicating AIDS, which has taken the lives of people I have loved.”

Hills and Hanson are both avid cyclists and have participated in rides like AC200 before. “Besides the fact that it is great exercise that does not do damage to your body, it’s also a great way for me to release stress,” Hills said. “Riding on a bike for 25, 50 or 100 miles makes you forget about a lot of other things that you realize aren’t all that important in the grand scheme of things.”

Hanson said, “I have done a 585-mile AIDS ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles and other shorter rides like this one. I have another AIDS ride planned for this summer.”

The AC200 ride will take bikers east from the Emory Vaccine Center’s Hope Clinic in downtown Decatur. Then, traveling along a scenic Georgia route, the ride will end its first leg in Athens. The next day the bikers will head back to Atlanta, fulfilling their 200-mile route.

With the exception of volunteers, participants must pay a registration fee and raise a minimum amount of funds for the cause. Rider Team participants pay $90 to register and must raise a minimum of $500. Relay Team participants pay $90 and must raise a minimum of $350. Relay teams can divide the 200 miles amongst friends, which must have a minimum of two and a maximum of five riders. Crew members pay $50 and must raise $250 and are expected to work the entire two days of the event. Volunteers are welcome with no requirements but are encouraged to raise funds.

To register or to make a pledge in support of Team Emory, visit www.actioncycling200.kintera.org.

Another bike ride fundraiser that will benefit the Emory Vaccine Center is Charity Treks. Both Hanson and Hills plan on riding the five-day, 425-mile ride. Starting Aug. 15, the ride will go from Montreal, Canada, to Portland, Maine, and the rider registration fee is $150. For more information visit www.charitytreks.org.