First with the tip of their wheels, and then their whole bodies, the five FACE AIDS riders who spanned the country on their bikes to raise funds and awareness for AIDS marked the final day of their ride Thursday with a celebratory dip in Boston Harbor.
For the 67th and final day of the ride, staff from the Partners In Health Boston office joined the charity riders for the home stretch of the trip, which raised nearly $50,000 for the PIH and Inshuti Mu Buzima (IMB), its sister program in Rwanda. The team of five were the fourth group to complete the ride, which was started by Stanford University students in 2007 and revived by classmates Austin Keeley and Dave Evans in 2009.
In addition to fundraising, the bikers focus on educating the public about issues surrounding HIV/AIDS and access to healthcare, speaking to schools and community groups and spreading the word whenever possible.
The five riders – Michael Henry, Vadim Kogan, Katie Lund, Laura Lynch and Tim Spittle – rode into Boston with nearly double the amount of money they'd planned to raise. They also have a renewed desire to continue finding ways to challenge themselves and fight for social justice and AIDS awareness through personal projects and future FACE AIDS projects.
The group, launched at Standford in 2005, focuses its efforts on AIDS patients in Rwanda and has raised more than $2 million for IMB.
"It feels amazing to be done," said Laura Lynch, a Stanford University junior from Rome, Georgia. "(After 67 days) I'll probably wake up tomorrow ready to bike and realize I have nowhere to go."