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Activist bicyclists visit Athens on 3,700-mile ride across America

Health care advocates ride to promote domestic and global health awareness

May 14, 2009

One in six individuals in the world lacks access to safe drinking water. Every year, six million children die from malnutrition before their fifth birthdays.

Thirty bicyclists from across the United States and Canada are on a mission to raise awareness about and funds to help change these and other world health problems with a 3,700-mile bicycle journey known as Ride for World Health.

On Sunday, May 16, the bicyclists – who include medical students, public health professionals, an AmeriCorps member, a survivor of a hip disorder and a native of South Africa – arrive in Athens for an overnight visit. 

Ride for World Health, a national nonprofit organization, was founded in 2004 by a small group of Ohio State University medical students as a reaction to the state of domestic and global healthcare. Those students decided to take a proactive role in addressing the problem, so they each placed $200 of their own money in a jar, and Ride for World Health was born.

The bicyclists left San Diego in April, bound for Washington D.C. They will travel through 12 states and 47 cities, including Athens. They hope to arrive in the nation’s capital by May 24.

The goal of the 3,700-mile bicycle ride is to promote awareness about domestic and global health issues and to raise funds for organizations working to improve access to health care in the poorest communities of the world.

As part of the trip, participants deliver a “Coast-to-Coast Lecture Series.” These lectures address topics about health care, poverty and illness, HIV/AIDS, and women and children’s health issues. They coordinate keynote speakers, inviting renowned figures in global health to share their expertise and experiences with providing health care services to the underserved. The Coast-to-Coast lectures are scheduled in clinics, schools, churches and community centers along the route.

In Athens, the Coast-to-Coast lecture is titled “Global Health Challenges: Easy Solutions to Difficult Problems,” and will be held Sunday at 5 p.m. in the Baker Center Multi-purpose room (rooms 240 and 242). The public is invited. The riders will depart from Athens on Monday, May 17, for Harrisville, W.Va., the next stop on their trip.

“Ride for World Health goes beyond the powerful symbol of a nationwide bike ride by including an innovative public education component and patient advocacy elements performed in tandem with our ride,” said R4WH CEO Clare Kelleher. “We are an organization that is directed by future and current health care professionals standing up for issues that needs immediate attention and action.” 

Solidarity rides and fundraising events are also planned to promote community support and to raise funds for the Ride's 2009 beneficiaries, global health organizations Esperança and Village Health Works. Last year, the ride successfully raised more than $60,000 for the 2008 beneficiary, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières.

Ride for World Health 2009 is sponsored by many local and national organizations including: the Ohio State University Medical Center, Roll: bike shop, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, PowerBar, Einstein Bros Bagels, Budget Rent A Car, HMT Inc., US Women’s Cycling Development Program, theMedShow, Tradehome, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.

For more information please visit

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Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
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Last updated: 01/28/2016