On Thursday, January 14th the Hill Country Ride for AIDS (HCR) held a kick-off party for it’s eleventh year of riding to raise money for Austin’s HIV/AIDS service organizations. There were many new people interested in riding; not surprising since the number of riders and the amount raised has increased dramatically year over year. Over $3.5 million total has been raised since the first ride in 2000.
During the program, David Smith, Ride Director and founder, introduced a nine-year-old boy by the name of Spencer. Spencer was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of four. During and after chemo, his immune system still weak, he and his father would walk or ride bikes to stay away from people who might unwittingly harm his health. He no longer has any trace of leukemia. Now, he wants to help others. [Read his story].
Spencer has been riding with his father for the LIVESTRONG Challenge since 2004, and last year rode for the HCR. Despite his father’s doubts, Spencer chose to ride the 65 mile route, rather than the shorter 10 mile one. He and his father were the last to cross the finish line.
But nobody is a loser at HCR. In fact, the last rider is honored, being welcomed and congratulated by all the riders before them. Spencer’s message at the kick-off to those uncertain if they are going to ride was, “If I can do it, you probably can too.” Note the challenge in the probably.
Spencer isn’t the only child to ride, of course. Children eight and up are allowed to participate if riding with a registered adult guardian. And with 613 riders total last year (30% more than rode in 2008), he had plenty of company along the way.
This year’s ride is on Saturday, April 24th, 2010 and takes off from Krause Springs in the beautiful Hill Country. Register today, check the site for training ride dates, and make a difference in the lives of persons living with HIV/AIDS. [VIDEO]
Last year’s ride raised over $650,000. The goal for this year is $700,000. Funds raised support the following organizations: AIDS Services of Austin, ALLGO, C.A.R.E. Program,The Care Communities, Community Action, Inc., Friends of David Powell Health Center, Out Youth Austin, Project Transitions, Waterloo Counseling Center, and The Wright House Wellness Center