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May 27, 2010

Ride Across Belize for Rotary’s Gift of Life

It is not as competitive as the Cross Country Cycling race but it surely has the numbers and the enthusiasm. This morning a sizeable pack of cyclists took off from Corozal Town and rode into to Belize City at about eleven-thirty in the annual Ride Across Belize. The race this year is raising funds for Rotary’s Gift of Life Program. News Five’s Delahnie Bain was at the finishing line when the cyclists made their way into the City.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

About a hundred riders suited up this morning for the first leg of the Ride Across Belize, which took off from Corozal for an eighty-mile ride to Belize City. It’s an event organized by the Social Security Board to raise funds for charitable organizations and this year’s beneficiary is the Rotary Club’s Gift of Life Program. The program’s chair person, Yvette Burkes, says she is grateful for the assistance.

Yvette Burkes, Chair, Rotary’s Gift of Life Program

yvette burkes

“Deep gratitude; not just for the support, but for what the support represents which is an acceptance and endorsement of the Gift of Life effort, which of course is something that I have personally been very, very committed to and which is possible because of the huge amount of networking and hard work of all the Rotarians.”

The funds come from solicited donations and fundraisers at Social Security branches countrywide. And despite the current economic situation, organizer, Dr. Ramon Figueroa says support for the event has not dwindled.

Dr. Ramon Figueroa, Organizer, Ride Across Belize

“The last count was from our side we had collected about twenty thousand dollars and as you know the board matches dollar for dollar. So if we’ve raised twenty thousand, then we have twenty thousand more from the board and that would be forty thousand. The board will match a maximum of twenty-five thousand so our target this year is about sixty thousand.”

Yvette Burkes

“Our fundraisers didn’t do so well this year. The raffle was okay but our budget is such that it’s kind of difficult. So some of this, unfortunately, is already spent. So we’ll see how it goes. But yes, that’s exciting news for us.”

While the funds are top priority, there would be no ride without the cyclists. This year’s Ride Across Belize attracted participants locally and all the way from New York, including a Belizean who relocated to the states.

Brad Burgess, Participant, Ride Across Belize

“It was very good and the pace was very comfortable and we’re not really used to this pace but we can deal with it. The weather is more hot than we’re used to but we could deal with that also. We did a few charity rides back in New York. We do the MS-150, we do the AIDS ride, we do the ride for diabetes so to do it here in Belize it’s even more—it’s up there with everything else.”

Hayden Hester, Participant, Ride Across Belize

“I was invited by my good friend here Mr. Baila and good ride; well organized, nice people, I have no complaints. I enjoyed every second of it. To my heart I enjoyed every second the ride. Good ride. Riding is fun too; it’s a lot of fun and it’s something that’s healthy and it’s a lot of fun so doing it for a worthy cause even makes it more justifiable.”

Angela Sanchez, Participant, Ride Across Belize

“The group was really warm, we were just embraced by the Belizean people, the support was amazing, the service was amazing and strong and everybody was very safe. It was a very safe ride.”

Baila Yearwood, Participant, Ride Across Belize

“It’s my third time doing the Social Security ride and I must say something about it; it’s the most peaceful and organized ride. I do a lot of long rides and sometimes it’s a cut throat ride and I like the fact that anybody can do this ride.”

But today was just the beginning and ride continues over the next few days to Punta Gorda.

dr.ramon figueroa

Dr. Ramon Figueroa

“This is a four day ride, the first leg ended here in Belize City. Tomorrow we go from Belize City to San Ignacio. We go into Belmopan, do on lap around the ring road, stop a little while and then we go on to San Ignacio. The third day we go from San Ignacio to Dangriga; those are the hard hills. And then the final day hopefully we’ll be able to go from Dangriga to Punta Gorda if it doesn’t rain.”

The slogan for this year’s ride is “Every mile can save a child. Ride for a cause. Ride for health. Give the Gift of Life.” Delahnie Bain for News Five.

Dr. Ramon Figueroa says that if donations continue coming in the way it has so far, they may break the 2008 record of sixty-five thousand dollars.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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